Welcome To Tech/Engineering!

Ms. Hurd and Mrs. Clayton are your teachers!

May 2016

K is for Keva and Kindergarten!

Kindergarteners have been busy . . .

… in their tech/engineering classes. In our last issue, we mentioned using iPads and a free mobile app available from M.I.T. called Scratch Jr to create coding projects. Students learned to use the paint and draw tools to create their own backgrounds for a project and then used blocks of code to make their characters move in various directions, turn, and hop. They learned about repeat and forever blocks, too. By the end of our coding lessons, kindergarten students became quite independent in using this app.

Next, students took part in a "keyboard awareness" lesson to help them begin to understand how the keyboard is laid out and how people learn to type. Formal instruction does not begin until 3rd grade, when students hands are a bit larger and their small motor coordination is more controlled. You should soon see a paper copy of the keyboard come home. Children labeled the numbers and letters on this paper keyboard. As the school year comes to an end, we will return to engineering, where students will do a ping pong ball design challenge, and then finally, a Keva group build. Hard to believe we have fit so much into one school year!

1st Graders Keep On Learning!

1st graders have been busy. . .

… continuing their coding lessons using Scratch Jr. As with our kindergartners, they have learned so much over these past several weeks. Students can now, quite independently, begin a new project, name the file, add a background, add characters and then program the characters to perform a prescribed set of steps. One challenge was to program penguins to do some math problems. Another activity had the children create a "Knock, Knock" joke program. In this lesson, they added recordings of themselves asking or replying to the "Knock-Knock" joke.

Most recently, all 1st graders took part in a keyboard awareness lesson to help de-mystify how people learn how to type. Formal keyboarding will begin in 3rd grade when their little hands grow a bit and their small motor skills mature. The year end will bring a few more lessons that will help build their tech skills. Our final couple classes will be back on iPads learning to use a fun Desktop Publishing app called Pow Design Strip. By then it will be almost summer vacation. Hard to believe!

2nd Grade is States Fair...and So Much More!

2nd graders have been busy . . .

...preparing for their big end-of-the-year extravaganza, better known as the Second Grade Zoo. The students' Build-a-Zoo unit began with a trip to the Metro Richmond Zoo, where they collected information on specific animals and engineering projects. Following the zoo trip, students conducted further research on their animals and worked in groups to make informative, self-supporting signs for zoo visitors. The students also created zoo maps and learned about "designing to scale." Each child then built a moveable, scale-model of his or her animal.

Lastly, students worked in groups to construct engineering projects specific to our zoo, such as cardboard bridges, paper trees, ticket machines, and sky rides. The zoo will be assembled on the morning of May 9th and open for visitors that afternoon and on Tuesday until 2 p.m. We expect all Lower School classes will want to visit the Second Grade Zoo!

3rd Graders Appreciate Colonial America

3rd graders have been busy . . .

...with many collaborative efforts. The focus this last quarter may be robotics, but of course this is not an isolated subject. Someone came up with the STEM/STEAM acronym for this very reason. Our robotics projects include a lot of math, science, design, and technology elements. Most every lesson has 3rd graders working together solving a problem or meeting a challenge. Often coding, legos, Wedos, motion sensors, motors, gears, levers, and/or pulleys are involved. As we look toward the end of this school year, 3rd graders will have one final challenge, to design and create their own "Rube Goldberg-esque" machines.

4th Graders are a Mosaic of Inspired Ideas

4th graders have been busy . . .

. . . during the month of May expanding their knowledge and understanding of robotics and coding. Students are working in groups creating projects that integrate technology, engineering, and science using Lego Wedo (robotics) or MakeyMakey (circuit boards) as well as Scratch programming. Projects include such things as a T-ball or Soccer game, a green screen photo booth, a jump-height station, interactive art, a Scratch video game or story, and Scratch musical instruments. The completed projects will be demonstrated on May 19th, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Parents are welcome to attend.

Technology/Engineering (T/E) FAQs

How often does my child have technology or engineering classes?
  • once per C-O-U-G-A-R rotation

How was this curriculum designed?

  • Our Lower School Tech/Engineering curriculum was designed to give your child a good balance of experiences in the area of engineering, technology, robotics and coding.

What tech devices might my child use in class?

  • anything from: iPads, laptops, desktop computers, Chromebooks, makey-makeys, simple circuit boards and more