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Mission to Mars! Cross-Curricular Exploration With Robotics

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Sunday, November 29, 8:00–9:00 am PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Lisa Rode  
Learn how an elementary classroom embarked on a "Mission to Mars" and transformed the classroom into a makerspace/STEAM lab to inspire students to make cross-curricular connections, investigate, tinker and take charge of their learning.

Audience: Teachers, Principals/head teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Topic: Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: Language arts, Science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively by creating or using a variety of digital objects such as visualizations, models or simulations.
Computational Thinker
  • Students break problems into component parts, extract key information, and develop descriptive models to understand complex systems or facilitate problem-solving.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will learn how the transformation of an elementary classroom into a STEAM lab / makerspace can help spark curiosity, investigation, and student ownership. The "Mission to Mars" unit is one example of finding cross-curricular connections with math, language arts, science, social studies, and computer science to help make learning come alive in the elementary classroom.

1. Overview of the "Mission to Mars"
- Lesson mapping and connecting principles
- Alignment to state/national standards
- Assessment tools
2. Introducing Computational Thinking Strategies and Vocabulary to Students
3. Student Engineering Logs
- Student journals for questions, notes, designs, schematics, and progress towards their team goals
- Documentation of the utilization of computational thinking strategies to solve problems
4. Classroom design and organization
5. Robots as tools for learning
6. Explicit instruction vs Learning Through Investigation
- Balance of state standards + pacing considerations with individual student passions and inquiry
- Which computer science concepts are taught explicitly?
- Which concepts are taught via investigation and are completely student-driven?

Supporting research

The Importance Of Being Curious -

Two Ways to Add 'Computational Thinking' to Middle School Science -

"Metacognition: How Thinking About Thinking Can Help Kids" -

Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play

Not Just for Reading Class Anymore: 5 Tips for Teaching Literacy Across Multiple Subjects -

More [+]


Lisa Rode, Kings Glen Elementary School

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