During the 2020-2021 school year, West Valley CSD received S.T.E.M. resources through the Eisenhower Math and Science State Grant Program. Ryan McGinnis, Curriculum and Professional Development Coordinator, provided a virtual training on how to use Piper kits, Root Robots, Spike Lego kits, and Microbits. School librarian Jody Thiel is a proponent of incorporating S.T.E.M. into library programming, and using Microbits and one module of five easy-to-use lesson plans (offered through BBC micro:bit), Thiel’s 5th grade students practiced computational thinking and strengthened literacy skills.
Literacy has evolved over time and presently requires “using printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one’s goals, and to develop one’s knowledge” (Kirsch & Jungeblut, 1986, as cited in Dewitz, Graves, Graves, & Juel, 2020). In preparation for Thiel’s Microbits activity students learned what data is, how it may be classified, and identified how it might be used. For example, what personal data is important for a doctor or school to request versus GameStop ® or someone online. Students practiced literacy skills by writing algorithms, coding, and creating a computerized personal assistant who advises on weather appropriate outerwear.
Dewitz, P., Graves, M. F., Graves, B. B., & Juel, C. (2020). Teaching reading in the 21st
century: Motivating all learners (6th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Pearson.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources