Oct 30, 2015

California STEM Symposium 2015

The past two days at the California STEM Symposium have been inspiring and encouraging. Amanda Haughs and I presented at our first statewide conference, sharing our Campbell Union School District STEAM Program. It was a great chance for me to reflect on how far our STEAM program has come. From just attending and seeing what other districts were doing last year, to sharing and teaching others about what we're doing this year. Some of our attendees shared that they really appreciated the variety of resources available on our district STEAM website: campbellusdsteam.weebly.com 
I also had the opportunity to connect with many industry partners, like Amy from Autodesk Project Ignite and Amanda from Google CS First. I can't wait to see how we can further work together to provide our students and teachers with high-quality STEAM experiences. One of my favorite quotes from the conference is posted below. It reminded me to continue taking risks and to continue to promote a risk-taking culture!

Oct 18, 2015

5th Grade Dash Robot Biography Project

The 5th Graders at Forest Hill Elementary School were hard at work turning Dash into the famous person that they had researched. Rosa Yang, Forest Hill's STEAM Task Force Teacher, helped me plan this project, to integrate the math, literacy, and social studies skills that her students were currently working on. 
Since her students had just finished learning about metric measurement and rounding, we had them put them to the test to make a timeline to scale. Since Dash moves in increments of 10 centimeters, we had students round the lifespan of their famous person to the nearest 10 cm. They were then challenged to place the five most important parts of their person's life on the timeline, starting from their birthdate, rounding each one to the nearest 10 cm. 

The fifth graders then wrote a sentence describing that important life event. They then used the iPad App "Blockly" to program Dash to start at the beginning of the timeline. Each student was then able to record themselves reading each important life event and to have Dash travel down the timeline to describe it. Some of the students even wanted to program Dash to change colors based on the event and some even created a costume or hat to help Dash look more like their person. It was a fantastic way for the students to use math, literacy, and engineering, to truly bring their person to life!

Oct 7, 2015

Google CS First Music & Sound

6th grade teacher at Campbell Middle School, Maria Camisa, had her class take an interest survey at the beginning of the school year. The top two interests were technology and art. So Maria was excited to try the Google CS First Music and Sound theme. Students created music videos, dancing loops, and animated dialogue as part of the program. A fantastic way to integrate student interest, critical thinking, and math concepts!

Dash Robots and the 4 Regions of California

The fourth graders at Lynhaven have been busy learning how to program the Dash robots and researching the 4 Regions of California. 4th grade teacher Andrea Tracy was a member of the Advanced STEAM/Tech Cohort this summer and was very excited to work on this pilot project with Dash.

We started by talking about what is inside a robot and how they work. We then discussed that robots are special classmates and they need to be treated with respect. Some of the expectations that the students came up with were using nice words with Dash, giving him personal space, and being patient with him. We then had the fourth graders complete the puzzles in Dash Robot Driving School using the iPad App Blockly.

The next day, students worked with their groups to measure and draw a map for Dash to lead a tour through their region. They had to use their measurement and conversion skills, since Dash only moves in increments of 10 centimeters. In each group, there was one student who was an expert in the region's animals, plants, geography, and industry. Each expert wrote a sentence about their topic and recorded it in one of Dash's 5 customizable recordings. Students also took turns programming Dash's movements, turns, and lights. All of the 4th graders enjoyed taking Dash on a journey through the 4 Regions of California!
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