WeDo Getting Started for First Grade

I have been using the LEGO Education supplied getting started activities for many years with my first grade students.  We do them together usually in circle.  Week one is the motor, week 2 most of the gears, and week 3 the pulleys.  We culminate with Dancing Birds.  After we go through each Getting Started and talk about motors, gears, or pulleys and what each does, I let them add on to their model.  This latter part is very exciting for first graders and builds on what they just learned.  They will also add all kinds of programming.  Here’s a few photos from yesterday.

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EV3 iPad App

LEGO Education has released a free iPad app for EV3. I was fortunate to be able to do some curriculum consulting work on this project.



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Review of Elementary Robotics

My book got a nice review on

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The Power of Wireless Projector Connection

This is a real incident from a  study I just completed that compared teacher use of technology with and without wireless projection systems.  I found that these systems changed the spatial arrangements in the classroom as well as the reach and frequency of technology use.

Thanks to Sally Galman, who took my very crude cartoon and made it into something fabulous.  See for more information on Sally and her wonderful work including her research methodology books (in cartoon format).

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New Burglar Alarm Posters

Here are some nice example of grade 4 burglar alarm ad posters from this year.  Students have an open-ended engineering challenge of building a prototype burglar alarm.  Next, they design an ad poster and make a pitch at a simulated sales event.


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Burglar Alarm Fair Business Card

A couple of students made their own business cards for our grade 4 Burglar Alarm Fair totally on their own.  I was happy to see such investment and initiative!

Business Card

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Space Challenge Ready To Go

My enrichment students have finished building all the LEGO EV3 Space Challenge pieces and are ready to take on the challenge missions!

Space Challenge

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Dragsters 2014

I teach robotics one afternoon a week in a sister school in our district.  This is my third year there.  It is interesting to see the changes each year as students get more experience.  The classroom teacher and I were very pleased with the engineering results this year. All teams completed a dragster and got at least one time.  This year’s faster dragster was made by Kennan.  The car went 6.7 feet/second.  Second fastest was Jerry and Kaylie.  Their car went 5.9 feet/second.

Dragsters 2 Dragsters 1

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Found This Note on a Robot Kit Today

World Record Note



We found this note from two of last year’s sixth graders on one of the robotics kits.  It was very satisfying to find this note.  The two boys were so proud of their accomplishments.

“This kit was the one used to break the world record of 7.7 feet per second.  Use this kit wisely.  Kyle and Mark”


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Robotics Quick Update

Sorry I have not been posting much.  I spent a lot of time this summer working on my “comps” papers for my PhD.  This involved a robotics literature review and a write up of my pilot study, where I examined a second and sixth grade student doing an open ended engineering challenge.  The second drafts of both papers are in the Research section of this web site.

I am trying to finish up my coursework this fall taking 3 courses and finishing an independent study.  The latter is a reworking of a lit review  paper my advisor wrote on robotics as computational manipulatives.  If I survive the grueling schedule (7 weeks to go), I will have my final course in the spring (Qualitative Research 2) and a CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study).  I am planning to defend my comps sometime this fall/winter and start my dissertation proposal this spring.

Couple of other things going on.  I went to Denmark for a week this summer of a consulting job.  We went to the Grand Canyon.   I am on a committee defining new computer science and digital literacy for the state of Massachusetts.  I was named a finalist (one of three) for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.  We have all new technology at our new school so it’s exciting but also a ton of work to get everything deployed.  My three enrichment students are working the the LEGO EV3 Space Challenge, which has been a lot of fun and it’s giving me chance to work with the EV3 more in-depth.

I will write about my pilot study research when I come up for air.

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