Reflections and Observations from Robotics/Coding classes…
While currently working for several days on coding plus Lego robotics in three math classes: two grade 5/6s and one grade 7/8 class, I had the most interesting experience on a recent Friday.
An assumption, as the technology leader and I were planning out the lessons and build, was that many students would get a lot of satisfaction from building the robots, before coding them. So we had the whole first day where they built the Express Bot and then dismantled them so the next group could build. It was ok… but still some bickering, and such.
The next day was completely focused on learning how to code the robots.
It was like turning a switch on. The focus, engagement and successes were amazing. Not a single behavioural issues. The one class has math every day during the final hour of school. Half the time it is a challenge to manage this class. Many of the students are identified and probably more will be in the future. These students achieved as much as the other classes, and more. They were totally immersed in their tasks and goals. They were super excited to share with each other, help each other, share with the teachers and principal. They did not want to go home when the bell rang. We were basically speechless at the end of that class, due to the changes we had seen.
Other teachers were walking by to look on in amazement as the class exhibited the kind of learning skills and focused behaviour that was not usually observed. The students were collaborating and creating their own projects. Natural differentiation was created when working with these groups, especially as it was not guided instruction. Activities like this fill me with joy to see the success of many. Today’s students, tomorrows technology experts.