Heather Meek works as an Instructional Technology Coach at Ellis Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia.
She has been teaching for more than 22 years. She started as an elementary school teacher and later switched into an Instructional Technology Coach role. She has been passionate about technology and technology in education since 1988, so the role switch was a dream come true. She now works with students in grades K - 5 with coding, engineering, audio/visual digital presentations and graphic design.
I have been working with Robo Wunderkind since February of this year. As an ITC, it’s my job to help teachers use educational technology in the most effective ways. I was excited to show everyone how to learn about robots and coding with Robo Wunderkind because it gives the students a hands-on experience of building a robot. Before I could get started, I had to show teachers how Robo Wunderkind can help students develop inquiry and scientific investigation skills.
Addressing teachers concerns
When I introduced Robo Wunderkind to the teachers there were two major concerns that I had to address:
- Are younger students ready to use this kind of technology?
- How do robotics and coding connect to my core classroom topics?
To address the first concern, I took Robo Wunderkinds into the hardest kindergarten class. It went great! The blocks are chunky which helped with the students’ fine motor skills and it really sparked the kids’ imaginations as they thought about how they would create their very own robot.
To address the second concern, I used the Robo Wunderkind STEAM hub with content ideas and found four ways to make sure that students in my school get more hands-on time with Robo Wunderkind. Weekly mentoring sessions with the Robo Wunderkind team were also a great push for me to keep experimenting with different approaches:
- 1. Open exploration in the library
In the library, students led an open exploration that sparked their interest in working with robotics and coding. Students got to see how they could use coding skills to build a robot chicken with a motor and wheel. When the robot started moving they were ecstatic to see their coding skills in action.
- 2. Numbers stories with Robo Wunderkind in Math lessons
To make the learning process relatable, students get to create their own numbers story using their robot. This helps students learn math through a realistic, hands-on approach. Too many math stories involve unrealistic situations like buying 83 pineapples; this just doesn’t make sense to kids. With robotics, math is fundamental so it’s easy to teach math skills in a more realistic way.
- 3. ELA lesson with Robo Wunderkind
An ELA teacher had a great idea on how to incorporate Robo Wunderkind in the classroom. The students have been doing an author study on Mo Willems so their teacher said, “lets do an animated story with the robot”. Students had to use problem solving skills to build their own pigeon robot using coding skills. This rigorous exercise aligned with the course standards and reinforced the lesson.
- 4. Circles and challenge-based tasks during the center time
Short activities such as challenges are ideal for center time. I am planning to have some of the challenges from the STEAM hub of Robo Wunderkind as cards like actual literal index cards on a ring that would give children a possibility to work on their coding-related challenges during center time.
With the next school year starting, I am looking forward to doing more exploration of how STEAM and creative technology can be combined with other subjects and looking forward to supporting my teachers with that. I am also excited about the growing content in the Robo Wunderkind STEAM hub as the team doubles down on more content for integrating STEAM into Math and ELA.
Inspired by Heather’s story?
Love What You’re Reading?
Subscribe to our newsletter to get more just like it, sent straight to your inbox.
Gefällt Dir, was du liest?
Melde dich für unseren Newsletter an, um weitere Informationen direkt in deinem Posteingang zu erhalten.