Monday, March 6, 2017

Getting Started with Lego WeDo Robotics in the Primary Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

Yay!  The day has finally come to start Lego robotics in our second grade classroom.  To say the kids were excited would be an understatement.  It was daunting for me as I unpacked my first kit and sorted the legos.  I started to think I might have bitten off more than I could chew with this genius idea!  How in the world could 7 and 8 year olds use all these pieces to make a robot??  Honestly! Spoiler alert- THEY DID IT!  I knew planning and preparation would be key and so I went through the process myself several times and then I had my own 7 year old go through my lesson plan/idea.  I was able to tweak a few things and had high hopes that my students would be successful in this process.  Now, I'm sharing my process here with you!!

First and foremost, unpack and sort all those legos. I planned to have 2 students per kit so I had 11 kits to unpack and sort.  I assumed (I know, I know) that the bags would correspond to the type of lego and sorting would be a breeze.  NOT THE CASE!  Each bag has a little bit of everything.  I did one kit and then decided to have my kids sort the rest of the kits.  I put the stickers on the trays as indicated in the directions and then my students worked in pairs to sort all the legos and they did an amazing job.  This is definitely something they can do ahead of time and it allows them the ability to see all the parts included in the kit.  I was so glad that I did this.  Your kit should look like this once it is all sorted.
Lego WeDo Classroom

Once all the legos are unpacked you will want to label the box, Smarthub, motor and sensors with a number.  DO THIS!  Do not skip this step or think you can do it during the lesson.  It is a million times easier to have everything numbered ahead of time. You will also want to put AA batteries in the Smarthub for your first lesson.   In case you need a little help opening the battery compartment, check out this video.  Next, familiarize yourself with the Lego WeDo app. I personally did not find it super user friendly so there was a bit of looking around to locate everything.  This is time well spent.  The day before we started the lesson I sent the students the link to the download for the Lego WeDo app via Google Classroom.  This saved me a lot of time.

The first project was Milo the Science Rover Part A.  Lego recommends doing all the Milo lessons in one swoop if you can.  That was indeed my plan, but it did not work out.  We only got through part A for our first lesson and it was enough.  At the end of the lesson we stored our Milos so that we can do the other portions this week.  

Prior to getting out the Lego kits I had the students open up their Milo slide in Google classroom.  The first slide looks like this.
Lego WeDo Classroom

It is a video about inventing by Kid President and gets the kids thinking about science and engineering.  After they watch the video they go to the next slide to and fill out the Can-Have-Are chart independently.  I then had the class come to the carpet and we filled out my Can-Have-Are altogether.  This was a great way to discuss what scientists DO.  Here is the Can-Have-Are my class came up with.
Lego WeDo Classroom
Now we were ready to get to the question portion of the lesson.  I showed the students the rover video in the Milo lesson.   I showed this video on my Smartboard and we watched it together.  After the video they opened up Question slide in their Milo presentation.  We discussed the question and the students were given time to record their answer.  This was what my group came up with.
Lego WeDo Classroom

Now it is time to make their Milo.   There are very clear directions located in the WeDo app. I worked with my kiddos to get to the direction slides and then I set the partners loose to make their own Milos.  The kids did a great job with this and really didn't need my help at all.  
Lego WeDo Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

Once the Milos are built comes the real excitement-CODING!!!  The Lego WeDo app guides the students through the process with pictures in a drag and drop format. When they have replicated the simple line of code they need their Milo to communicate with their Chromebook.  This is why you needed to have each Smarthub numbered ahead of time!!!!  The app has a fun little video to show the kids how to get their Smarthub to coordinate with their Chromebook. I had the kids watch the video and then I walked them through getting their Chromebook synced to their Smarthub.  This was not a super smooth process.  There were definitely glitches and I would plan to spend more time on this portion of the lesson then what the Lego teacher guide recommends.  When they do get Milo to move forward it is pure pandemonium (in a good way)!
Our lesson concluded with the students finishing their Milo assignment in Google classroom.  They needed to take a selfie with Milo.
Lego WeDo Classroom

I also had them answer a couple of questions so that I could gauge their engagement and learning as I planned for our next lesson.  Here's what they had to say:
Lego WeDo Classroom

Lego WeDo Classroom

As you can see, we need to get our Milos talking!!!  You will notice that my students documented their learning via Google slides.  The Lego WeDo app has documentation tools in it.  I really wanted an EASY way for the kids to document their learning where I would have access to it and Google slides is what I am used to so I recreated the Lego tasks and added a few of my own and made it in to a Google slide project.  If you would like to use this in your classroom, you can download it here:  Please make a copy when you save it to your drive.  Thanks and Happy Building.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lego Geometry

We just finished learning about 3D shapes and I wanted a way for the kiddos to review their learning during their independent math time.  I came up with this idea while cruising through the Lego store with the hubs.  I filled a small box with a variety of legos and I had the kids open up the Lego Geometry assignment in Google Classroom.  The kiddos were asked to build a cube and a rectangular prism.  I debated about dictating the size, but decided to let them free build and I am glad I did.  Once the students finished building they filled out their slides in Google classroom.  I plan to print them out into a geometry book.  You can see an example of the slides below.  If you want a copy of the slides for use in your classroom, just click on the photos below.

Friday, February 24, 2017

100th Day Stem

Loved using these 100th day STEM activities.    I set up stations around the room and the kiddos rotated every 20 minutes.  They had a blast.  Definitely a new 100th day tradition.  You can download these activities free {here}.

Monday, February 20, 2017

100th Day Fun

I love the 100th day of school.  This year it was supposed to be the day after Valentine's day and that kinda scared me.  Luckily, we had 2 snow days and that moved the 100th day to FRIDAY.  That I can deal with.  Our first grade classrooms do the 100th day collections.  Each first grader brings in 100 items and the school walks through the classrooms and admires the collections.  It is so fun.  I love seeing the creativity.  I didn't want to do a repeat of that activity for second grade so we do the 100th day t-shirts and have a fashion show.  The students are asked to put 100 items on a t-shirt and wear it to school that day.  I roll out the red carpet- yes, really- a red carpet and turn on the disco lights and get some funky runway music on.  The kids model their shirts on the red carpet.  They love it!!  

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Day STEM

Nothing says, "Valentine's Day" like Lego Catapults!  Am I right?  The kiddos had so much fun.  I think this will become a Valentine's Day tradition in my classroom.  The kids were tasked with building a catapult that would launch the candy heart the furthest.  I started the activity by showing the students the basics of catapult construction and recommendation of bricks to use for the lever and basket to hold the heart in. I made up some tubs ahead of time that held a variety of rubberbands and the bricks I had used in my demonstration and then I set the kids on their way.  They worked in groups of 3 or 4 and that seemed to be the perfect amount.  I just loved listening to their conversations as they worked together to problem solve and build with a purpose.  Their catapults turned out great.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Ninja Math Fact Brag Tags

This year I have been using Amy Lemon's Ninja Fact Masters as my math fact fluency program and it has been AWESOME!  My kids are really kickin' those math facts (see what I did there?)  Ha!  They love moving up and earning a new belt for their ninja.
But.. one thing was missing--- BRAG TAGS!

I implemented Brag Tags into my classroom this year and they have been a hit.  Brag tags are a wonderful way to reward positive behavior and academic achievement in the classroom.  I use brag tags every single day and I wanted to use them with the Math Fact Ninjas so I created a set for both addition and subtraction facts.  There are math fact brag tags on TpT, but I really wanted to maintain the ninja theme.  If you are looking for ninja themed brag tags you can find mine {here}.

If you are new to brag tags, keep reading for some tips and tricks!

My students keep their brag tags on these chains.  I purchased mine from Amazon, but I'm sure you could make them if you are crafty.  I have seen the chain in bulk form at craft stores.  You can find my specific chains {here}.

I have my students choose a bead when they earn a brag tag.  The students love choosing beads and it helps to make the brag tags pop on the chains.

We keep our brag tags hung up all week.  The students only get to wear them on Fridays!
I have bunches and bunches of brag tags made up ahead of time and I store them in these containers.   Which you can see a better view above with the ninja tags.  Amazon sells these for $11.00 and I found mine at Hobby Lobby for $2.99 here.  They also have 1 large compartment to store the beads if you decide to go that route.  PERFECT!
Let me know if you have any questions.  Happy Brag Tagging!!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Get 'er Done!

Sometimes my kiddos just need the some extra time to finish classwork and I find myself writing notes on assignments and I wanted a quicker way to communicate with parents why their child was bringing classwork home.  So I created this form with the help of my teaching friend Mrs. Stewart.  If you want a free copy of the form for your classroom just click the photo!