Apr 28, 2016

CUE STEAMPunk Flying Drones Land in Campbell Union School District!

I was so excited when the CUE STEAMPunk Drone Suitcase arrived in Campbell! I had heard about these awesome Parrot Flying Drones, but had never actually used one. Thanks to the CUE STEAMPunk Mobile Labs and Parrot, we were able to test four of them out for FREE!
Before they arrived, I began planning which schools I would use them with and which content areas they could be best integrated with. Thanks to CUE STEAMPunk Teacher Advisor, Brian Briggs, I was able to quickly find a few lesson ideas on his Drone Academy: http://rockstardrone.weebly.com/
With our STEAM students at Monroe Middle School, we had them start with Mission 1: Speed and Distance. Students used the Tickle App to predict and measure the different distances that Parrot would travel, when adjusting the time and speed. It was amazing to watch the students eyes light up in both fear and excitement as they programmed the drones to take off for the first time!
Next, I took the drones to visit the students at Castlemont Elementary School. We worked on Mission 2: Bullseye there, with the goal of reaching the center of the target. It was really interesting to observe our students brainstorm with their teams different strategies to adjust the time needed to fly both vertically and horizontally. Some groups used trial and error, some measured with rulers, and some role played with Parrot counting the number of seconds. Spatial problem solving at its best!
We also tried to engineer Parrot to deliver paper plates for lunch (since we were in the cafeteria), but soon found that the plates were too heavy. The students came up with some great prototypes anyway!
Learn more about the CUE STEAMPunk Mobile Labs Program here: http://www.cue.org/steampunk or follow on twitter #cuesteampunk A big thank you to Jon Corippo and CUE STEAMPunk for giving us our first flying drone experience!

Apr 20, 2016

1st Grade Scratch Jr. Animal Habitat Projects

We tried a new coding app and coaching model at Lynhaven last Monday! The administrators were really supportive and covered two of the class periods so that I could work with all four first grade classes. We had two classes in the room at once and all four teachers could observe and assist me at the same time. Then, after recess we switched to work with the remaining two classes, so all four teachers could observe and assist me a second time. It was ambitious to have 50 first graders working on a new project at the same time, but with 5 teachers it worked out well.

The first graders were just starting to learn about habitats and animal adaptations. So we started by having all of the students select an animal (or sprite) that they had some prior knowledge with. We then had students select a background of the habitat that their animal lived in. We chose Scratch Jr. specifically for this project, since there were pre-made background images of the arctic, desert, savannah, ocean, and wetlands. We then instructed students to select start and movement blocks. They introduced their animals and habitats by typing a text speech bubble and creating an audio recording. Students then had the option to present their finished project using Apple TV.

The teachers also told me that it was really helpful for them to have copies of the Scratch Jr. block descriptions that I found here: http://www.scratchjr.org/learn.html#blocks

Apr 14, 2016

2nd Annual CUSD STEAM Showcase

Our 2nd Annual CUSD STEAM Showcase was a huge success! Thank you to all of our hard working teachers, students, administrators, and our community partners for celebrating STEAM in our district. We estimate that we had over 1,200 people attend the showcase this year!
This year, we also included student performances. We had both elementary and middle school CUSD Extensions Drama performances, Lynhaven 5th grade Drumming and Poetry, elementary and middle school choirs, and our three middle school bands. Below is a clip of the Lynhaven 5th graders and their enthusiastic teacher, Asha Finkel, performing at the showcase!
All of our 12 schools presented at least one classroom STEAM project. Some of the projects that I got to learn about from our students were engineering toys, bridges, simple machines, global warming, hands-on art sculptures, optical illusions, ceramics, math and technology projects, Blue-bot Literacy Adventures, Dash Robot Missions, MakeyMakey computer science game controllers, 8th grade exhibitions, 3D printing club, Future City, MESA, and the Tech Challenge. There were so many projects, I wish there was more time to visit them all! Thank you to Marla Sanchez for sharing all of the pictures below.

We look forward to seeing you at next year's CUSD STEAM Showcase!