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Friday, April 26, 2013

4th Grade Update- April in Review

4th graders have been particularly excited to come to technology class over the last couple of weeks because we have started using Scratch.  Scratch is a programming environment created by the MIT Media Lab's Lifelong Kindergarten group about 6 years ago.  If your child is really interested in Scratch, it is available for download FREE from the scratch website.  A new beta version of Scratch 2.0 is also available if students want to explore it.

Students have been learning how to use Scratch by completing the Scratch cards provided by MIT.  This week students are also starting to learn how to use the LEGO WeDo kits with Scratch by completing the "Scratch and WeDo Getting Started" activities with partners.  Pretty soon they'll be building LEGO models that can interact with the Scratch programming environment with motors and sensors.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tufts CEEO STEM Lecture series

After school on Monday, April 22nd, we attended the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach STEM Education lecture series talk given by Jim Slotta from the University of Toronto.  His talk presented "a recent theoretical model of collective inquiry called Knowledge Community and Inquiry, developed by Jim Slotta to guide the designs of complex collaborative inquiry curriculum for secondary science. Typical KCI designs are several months in duration, with students engaged in developing a shared knowledge base that serves as a resource for carefully scripted inquiry projects. In the past several years, Slotta and his team have advanced a sophisticated technology architecture called SAIL (Scalable Architecture for Interactive Learning) to provide scaffolding and real time analytic support for the sequencing of interactions amongst people, materials, tools and activities."  His talk explained KCI and SAIL, as well as a framework for smart classroom research called SAIL Smart Space.  He then presented three curriculum designs from current research projects.  One thing we connected with was the 5th and 6th grade science unit on life cycles using wallcology.

-Megan Haddadi and Jen Lavenberg

Friday, April 5, 2013

Middle School Students Study Biomimetics

Nice to see our middle school students having an experience like this...
" About ten seventh and eighth grade students from Buckingham, Browne, & Nichols School in Cambridge piled in a van and made their way up to Nahant on one of the rainiest, windiest days imaginable... Yep, that’s right — biomimetic robots... the neurological systems of animals like lobsters and bees, ... robotic systems whose mechanical circuitry mimics the animal’s neurological circuitry. This allows the robots to behave more like real animals capable of dealing with unforeseen circumstances."

Check it out on Northeastern's blog:

http://www.northeastern.edu/insolution/other/2013/04/biomimetics-for-middle-schoolers/