Welcoming West Valley students into the school library this year is a new space designated for S.T.E.A.M. activities. Jody Thiel, SLMS, is offering students the opportunity to explore coding, collaboration, and creativity with $500 raised through Donors Choose. Mrs. Thiel purchased over ten interactive resources to engage student learning and encourage a growth mindset (See photo).
A struggling middle school student recently demonstrated growth mindset as he was putting together circuits. When a bulb failed to light, he blamed it on dead batteries – several times. Mrs. Thiel did not offer correction on his design but simply told him the batteries were new and encouraged him to try again. The student figured it out and was so proud of himself! Taking risks in a safe environment allowed for experiencing success.
For younger students, Mrs. Thiel purchased the FisherPrice Code-a-Pillar. This is a colorful robotic whose pre-coded segments are put together by the student. Once segments are connected the Code-a-Pillar crawls across the floor to find a predetermined target. Quick feedback allows for student correction. Additional segments can be purchased for increased challenges.
Elementary and middle school students enjoy the Code & Go Robot Mouse and no doubt high school students and adults will too. Similar to the design of a BeeBot, Robot Mouse can be programmed to find a block of 'cheese' within a maze. The maze offers a variety of design challenges to engage “steamers” of all ages. and provides small groups with collaborative opportunities to problem solve.
Displayed among the LittleBits, Magformers, and Snap Circuits was the Osmo. This product utilizes an iPad, stand, mirror, and apps to teach coding, letters, words, numbers, and drawings. I tried the drawing app which uses a mirror to project an image onto a piece of paper that can be traced. Lettering is also available to make attractive thank you notes or sayings. (See photo). The tools available to use with the Osmo clearly makes an interactive tool for students K-12.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources