Robbinsville's Quarterly Curriculum Newsletter
Talking about Technology
This issue of Curriculum Corner highlights some of our work in the field of technology. Like me, I'm sure when you were a student, classroom "technology" solely meant using an overhead projector, or if we were lucky, a desktop computer! Now, students in each of our buildings have opportunities to utilize various technologies to employ design thinking, coding, programming, and robotics. Even more importantly, they are able to leverage different forms of technology to evoke our Robbinsville Ready Skills, specifically innovation, communication, collaboration, and self-direction. Please read below for more information about each of our building's technology departments and how students are using technology in the 21st century.
A special thanks to all our technology teachers for sharing pictures and blurbs about their classes:
Jennifer Gold, SES
Kristin Aquilino, SES
Elaina Ng, PRMS
Nick Reed, PRMS
Lisa Rich, RHS
Manisha Sharma, RHS
Radhika Vaidyanathan, RHS
Jennie Paulino, RHS
Kimberly Tew, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
Sharon Elementary School
STEAM at Sharon
Team Building Challenges- (Grades 3-4) Students switch groups frequently to get used to working with a variety of other students. Groups have different jobs and roles and revolve heavily on using the R’ville Ready Skills in every challenge.
Engineer Design Process Challenges- (Grades 3-4) Students learn the process that engineers go through and take their time imagining, planning, creating, and improving their designs.
Structural Design Challenges- (Grades 3-4) Students learned what creates stability in various structures, towers, bridges, and buildings.
Chain Reactions- (Grades 3-4) The science behind storing, releasing, and transferring energy (Kinetic vs. Potential).
Mobius Strips-(Grade 3) Students learned about the history of August Mobius who created the Mobius shape as well as the study of Topology. They then used the Mobius strip shape to conduct several reshaping experiments.
Snowball Catapults (Grade 3)- Students learned about levers and simple machines. They explored “snowballs” of various weights and sizes (small & big marshmallows, cotton balls, ping pong balls) to create a catapult that would launch their snowballs the furthest distance and into a cup!
Roller Coaster Physics (Grade 3)- Students used pool noodles to create roller coasters with various loops, hills, turns, and lengths. They learned about the physics behind how roller coasters worked and identified areas of kinetic and potential energy.
Paper Circuits- (Grade 4)- Students learned about circuitry and then created a paper circuit holiday card.
Kid Inventors- (Grade 4)- Students learned about kid inventors of the past as well as modern day kid inventors and how they created inventions that solved everyday problems. Students were then challenged to brainstorm modern day world problems and to build a prototype of a simple invention that might solve that issue.
3D Printers- We recently received four brand new 3D printers! We are incorporating this STEAM project into our 4th grade computer classes, teaching students about modern day uses for 3D printers and how they are changing lives. Students are currently learning the basics of 3D printing using a program called TinkerCAD.
Robotics & Coding- These lessons are incorporated into our computer classes but we are very excited to have a variety of robots to teach our students with!
Code & Go Mice
Coming soon from a grant we were awarded...Spheros
Makerspace- We have a huge tower of what we call STEAM Bins, that contain building supplies such as Base Ten blocks, Dominos, blocks, pattern blocks, Unifix or linking cubes, Legos, cups, popsicle sticks & velcro, paper towel & toilet paper rolls, craft sticks & clothes pins, pool noodles (sliced) and toothpicks, magnetic blocks, index cards and tape, Playdough & toothpicks, Keva planks, straws and pipe cleaners, marble mazes, etc. Students take a bin and complete a challenge with that bin. We also have bins that have electronics such as Snap Circuits and Little Bits.
We are excited to see what else our 3rd and 4th graders can do!
Pond Road Middle School
- 5th Grade: Egg Car Design Challenge and the Rocket Design Challenge
- 6th Grade: 3D Prototyping Independent Design Project (TinkerCAD) and Cardboard Arcade Challenge; TinkerCAD is an application that allows students to explore 3D Design, electronics, and coding.
- 7th Grade: Magnetic Levitation (MagLev) Vehicle Design Challenge; MagLev is method of primarily train transportation that takes advantages of magnets to eliminate friction and reach high speeds.
- 8th Grade: Automata Design Challenge and LEGO EV3 Building and Programming Challenges; Automata are self-propelled devices that follow a set a predetermined actions and LEGO EV3 software incorporates coding into the design process.
As technology continues to evolve, we look forward to incorporating more opportunities with programming, coding, and engineering into our middle school technology classrooms.
Robbinsville High School
Technology Electives at RHS
- Robotics: Students are challenged to design, build, and program a robot to collect ping- pong balls arranged around a black loop on the ground. To do so, they use a color sensor to keep the robot on track and build a collecting system on the front of the robot for all the ping-pong balls. In addition, students were tasked with designing, building, and programming a robot to compete in sumo wrestling challenges versus classmates' robots. They were required to use ultrasonic sensors to play ‘offense’ and color sensors to stay inside of the black circle ring on the floor for ‘defense.' Each robot also needed to include a gear ratio to increase torque (strength) when pushing the opposing robot out of the ring.
- Digital Fabrication: Below are some examples of student work using our laser engraver. Materials included wood and acrylic in different colors. The images include a student-designed chess set that used the least amount of material possible (the smaller pieces are cut from the inside of the larger pieces), a student-designed coaster set that used Adobe Illustrator and was cut and engraved on the laser engraver, as well as a Jurassic Park-themed coaster set. High levels of precision and attention to detail were necessary for all of these pieces to work together.
Principles of Engineering (POE): Students created a series of parallel and combination circuits on a bread board to make the LED’s glow and measured the current and voltage across all the components. Students also designed circuits using logic gates and simulated the circuits using online simulation tools.
Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM): An automated guided vehicle or automatic guided vehicle (AGV) is a mobile robot that follows markers or wires in the floor or uses vision or lasers. They are most often used in industrial applications to move materials around a manufacturing facility.The CIM class designed an AGV that carried ping-pong balls and moved on a curved path drawn on the floor. Students also designed a transfer system. Their system mimicked an assembly line by having a conveyor belt move a sub-assembly from one end to another, stopping at designated points to add onto the assembly.
Computer Animation and Digital Design: Students are designing moving animations with sound effects as well as creating 3D objects with mapping and reflection. In Digital Design I & II, our learners are creating innovative designs with live paint and illustrator tools.
These experiences are just a few ways we're incorporating technology into the school day. As new technology emerges, we're excited to continually refine and enhance our course offerings.