By Andrea Flagiello, Lower School computer science and innovation teacher
This year, the Design and Innovation program is going full STEAM in the Lower School. All first through fourth grade students are getting dedicated weekly time learning about digital literacy, computer programming, robotics, electronics, technology, and the design and prototyping process.
During the first semester, students have built and explored simple circuits, learned the parts of a computer, practiced digital literacy skills and learned the basics of coding. To learn coding, we started with block-based programming and are currently working on text-based coding using loops and if…then statements. Students are also learning about how to use variables in the code they write. Students have begun to apply their knowledge of programming to explore and work with a variety of robots. This will allow the students to see their programs brought to life, rather than just on a computer screen.
During the second half of the year, students will continue to work with robotics and electronics while they start to explore more of the physical world around them. We will be taking apart devices such as toys, LCD screens, simple electronics and more to explore and understand how these things work.
We will be using our knowledge of computer programming, robotics, electronics, mechanisms and digital literacy as we progress through the steps of the design process in order to solve real world problems. Students will spend time researching various areas so that they can understand which problems are the most important ones to solve. They will then spend time ideating solutions and building prototypes to test their hypotheses. All of this work will culminate in a final working solution to show off to the world.
The entire design and innovation team is excited to be working together to develop a strong and relevant curriculum for students from ECC to fourth grade to best prepare them for the challenges that lie ahead. Please check back for updates. And as always, ask your students what they’re doing in class...hopefully it will inspire you.