Many schools have recently purchased coding and robotics tools through their Matchbox to Ignite Innovation grants. These tools offer teachers and students some amazing opportunities to explore the curriculum in new, creative ways. There are a number of ways to incorporate these tools into a wide variety of subject levels. Below is an exploration of a few ideas for language arts and math.
Students, especially primary students, love to write and tell stories. Spice up your creative writing unit by incorporating coding and robotics. Once students have written a story, give them the opportunity to code a little something to go along with their story. They could even do this in Scratch or Scratch Jr. if your school does not have any robots at their disposal.
You can also check your students’ understanding of a story read in class by having them code a robot to retell or act out the major plot points. This gives you a quick visual of their understanding of the story and their ability to retell in a clear and concise manner while allowing your students to practice their logic and sequencing skills.
Procedural writing and coding go hand in hand. Coding relays instructions in a logical order to have a program complete a task. Sounds a lot like procedural writing to me! Your students can complete their procedural writing task and then use coding and/or robotics to test out their procedure and ensure that they are not missing any steps.
A great way to deepen a creative writing unit or novel study is to use coding as a final task. Students can use Scratch or other tools, such as Bloxels, to make a video game that relates to the story or book. This will show their grasp of setting, character, and plot and allow them the opportunity to flex their creative muscles.
There are, quite literally, thousands of ways to incorporate coding and robotics into the math curriculum. We will only explore a few here.
The easiest time to use robotics in your class is during your location unit in math. When coding robots, students must program them with all turns and distances to be traveled. Depending on the grade, students can program robots to go through a maze, navigate the classroom or school, explore coordinates on a grid, or travel on a map.
Robots like Dash and Sphero can be programmed to turn by the number of degrees, making them the perfect addition to a geometry unit. Students can use them to explore angles, create shapes, and more. The ability to move forward by a specific number of centimetres leaves the door open for the exploration of a variety of measurement topics, including perimeter.
Even very young students can benefit from using robots coupled with large number lines or hundreds charts. Students can work to demonstrate their understanding of topics like addition, subtraction, skip counting, and more by programming their robot to move along the manipulatives accordingly.
The possibilities are endless! Not only can you make valuable curriculum connections with these coding tools, but you also create engaging opportunities for students that allow them to practice other skills such as logical sequencing and problem-solving.