Note: This is a guest post by Joslyn Adcock from Lego Education.
Technology has become a central part of our daily life; it is intertwined in our day to day activities. The vast majority of the technology that we now depend on would not exist without the brains behind the machine who is able to see beyond the designs that are already there, continually building on the code to further improve.
Because of this reliance on technology, and the need to constantly improve, we have a responsibility to teach the upcoming generations not only how to use this technology, but to question it and build on what they’re using to adapt over time. Coding shouldn’t be viewed as a subject that exists only in the classroom, one that does not get used practically when children grow up. Today’s teachers are doing a great job at teaching coding as a subject within a subject, or in other words, a cross-curricular tool to encourage engagement.
Below, we provide example activities that go beyond a lesson of coding. These activities spark creativity, critical thinking, and a wider understanding of key communication skills.
Get your students understanding complex ideas by adding new dimensions of teaching to your lessons; why not try a mixture of classroom teaching and outdoor activities?
Use your teaching resources and ask your students to build a model of a tadpole, which transforms into a young froglet and then a full side model of a frog.
Now this doesn’t have to be done with just robotics or even models of the process. It can actually form the base of a lesson, which engages your students and gets them learning in a totally different way. Create a science lesson where you venture outside the classroom, find your local river in the Spring and spot the tadpoles. Once you’ve done this, children can easily build their own tadpole as they’ve seen it with their very own eyes.
It’s actually a lesson idea that can go in many different directions. For example, push the creativity a little further and create an art lesson where the students take their tadpole designs and draw or paint what they imagine the life span of a frog to look like, growing from a tadpole to an adult frog and using the model as their initial inspiration.
You can get your pupils enthusiastic about maths and engineering by showing them real life robots. Introduce them to project-based learning that gets their creativity flowing and their hands designing. Robots are such a fun and interactive way to get students of all ages to understand how coding works.
Incorporate robotic demonstrations into all your maths and science lessons. Your students can build and design their own robotic models that teach them about physics concepts like push and pull forces and balanced and unbalanced forces, which are the foundations of understanding those all-important STEM subjects, but are often tricky to teach in a fun and engaging way.
Hands on robotics resources are a great activity to work your teaching around. Allow your students to build, design and create models, which in turn develops their computational thinking techniques. These cool resources demonstrate the fun side of STEM learning and demonstrate how robots can complete complex tasks, react to environmental changes and record live data, among many other things.
All aboard the maths train!
For our younger coders, it’s essential that every lesson they partake in is developing their understanding of the core subjects. Get them involved in playing with resources that are fun and engaging to them, and also have numbers and counting involved. Playing with a train track isn’t just a fun activity, it actually allows them to explore several mathematic concepts like addition and subtraction – key skills for counting money to board the maths train!
So, go ahead and try adding some new resources across more of the curriculum! Introduce your students to a new style of teaching that will develop their problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and communication skills as well as teaching them important subjects in a new way. Bring these fun resources into all areas of your teaching and you will be well on your way to developing the young innovators of tomorrow. This is the foundation of students’ understanding of technology and computing and should therefore be taught across the whole curriculum.
Bio: Joslyn is an experienced and passionate senior international marketer skilled in strategy development, people and project leadership, partner management and shopper and consumer engagement across FMCG and educational markets. Joslyn is senior marketing manager at LEGO Education.