LittleBits and Curiosity Hacked Guild 019

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Curiosity Hacked Guild 019 LittleBits workshop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We had an open ended workshop with our Curiosity Hacked Guild using LittleBits and Legos. We used Legos and the LittleBits Lego adapter to create moving, blinking, beeping Lego inventions.

Gallery

Wizzbangz almost ready to roll.

mobile classroom

We don’t have this signage yet but this is the mock up of what we want. I did a photoshop overlay of it to give the sign company something visualize.

We are almost ready to roll out our mobile classroom and maker/hacker space. Check out our robots and past projects.

inside of mobile classroom

inside of mobile classroom

Work bench and tool cabinets.

Work bench and tool cabinets. If you think this is cool, just wait till we put in the 3D printers, light tables and the Roto Maak.

Chairs and cart

Chairs and cart are all secured down for safety when moving.

Maker library cart

Maker library cart rolls in and out of the lift so we can sill be accessible.

games and books about robotics

Plenty of S.T.E.A.M books and games for kiddos.

Maker/Hacker books

Lots of Maker/Hacker books for Bigger kids.

Robots!

Lots of robots to work and play with… and more on their way. We are expecting a modular CNC draw bot any day now.

Project table

This is our past project table. When I got it loaded up I realized I still had a couple of other boxes that I hadn’t opened… Next time.

Close up of some of our projects.

Close up of some of our projects.

Programing for the very young.

I have been following a fun topic over on Edutopia called Coding for Kindergarteners It is a fun read that lists a few great tools for introducing Coding to young children. The comments section keeps getting new suggestions all the time so I now get e-mails when ever someone posts. Many of the tools and techniques they suggest, I already use when working with young Kiddos, but new tools are being created on such a regular basis, that I find it immensely helpful to find a article like Coding for Kindergarteners.  Especially where people are sharing new things they have tried out for themselves in  a classroom setting.

One of the newest tools out there is one that MIT introduced for the iPad, Scratch Jr.  It is geared toward pre-readers and makes use of drag and drop icon based programing. I think it will be a nice introduction to new and very young programers, however, I think we underestimate our Pre-K and Kindergarten kiddos when it comes to introducing them to coding. My Kindergarten aged kiddo has been working with the full 2.0 version of Scratch for over a year now and has become very good at it. He can tell me what the drag and drop blocks do even though his reading skills are not strong. He is able to navigate the interface at lightning speed and often shows me tricks that he has learned on his own. I wanted to share his latest project as it is a great example of what a very young child is capable of.

Backstory:
Lucas got up this morning and the first thing he did was pull up our Scratch program and start working on a project. I sat down next to him, after a little while to check my e-mail. He was adamant that I keep the Scratch window open so that he could continue to work on his project when I was done. I asked him what he was so intently working on. Just as he was about to clue me in, his older brother walked in. My youngest started yelling at his brother to go away. I was puzzled, I asked him why he was yelling at his brother. He said “I’m making a Birthday card on Scratch for his birthday.”  Awe!! How cute. I couldn’t help but be interested now. I sat next to him and watched as he created two sprites and programed them to react when the space bar is pressed. He added a background and  recorded his own sounds for the sprites to “say” a birthday greeting. It was really impressive to see a 6 year old take the initiative to make a card for his brother for his Birthday all on his own. It was very cool that I didn’t have to do a thing to help him (and that there was no messy clean up ♥)

With out further ado  Check out Lucas’ Birthday card for his big Brother Jameson:
Press the green flag to start the program and then follow the instructions at the bottom of the screen.

Update:

When my mom came down from Oregon for a visit she sat down with him and he showed her how to use Scratch too. He helped her create a sprite and record her voice. Click on the “Nonna” icon (the middle stick figure) to hear her addition to the program.

Design Thinking for the very young.

Stanford's D School: Design Thinking

Stanford’s D School: Design Thinking

This is a fabulous article called What Does ‘Design Thinking’ Look Like in School? from the Blog Mind Shift. It focuses on a kindergarten teacher who employes it in her classroom. Having taught as an Atelierista in a Reggio Emilia preschool I am very familiar with teaching project based learning in the classroom with very young children. It is possible and desirable in fact it is the foundation of our Little Wiz kids Art and Design series.