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Computing in the Classroom: It's About to Get Physical

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Explore and create : Creation lab

Taylor Cotton  
Liz Loether  

Always wanted to introduce your students to physical computing but don't know where to start? We'll share our tips, tricks and step-by-step instructions for bringing Raspberry Pi, LEGO EV3s and Roger Wagner's MakerBit into your classroom. What better way to prepare than to try out the tools yourself!

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Coaches
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Topic: Computer science & computational thinking
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: STEM/STEAM, Computer science
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
For Education Leaders:
Empowering Leader
  • Support educators in using technology to advance learning that meets the diverse learning, cultural, and social-emotional needs of individual students.
For Students:
Creative Communicator
  • Students create original works or responsibly repurpose or remix digital resources into new creations.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will leave this presentation with a basic understanding of how to utilize and engage students with several physical computing tools, including Raspberry Pi, LEGO EV3s, and MakerBit. They will also receive and generate ideas for integrating curriculum with and assessing student learning through use of these tools. After this lab, participants will leave with ideas of how to introduce physical computing and computer science into their school site or classroom along with a range of resources that will support these introductions. These integration ideas will apply primarily to intermediate grades. Finally, participants will begin generating a project to bring back to their school site, and pending COVID-19 precautions, participants may also have an opportunity to try out one of the physical computing tools during the lab.


The lab will start with participants learning about the LEGO EV3, including basic operation and coverage of the related software, EV3 Classroom and the Chromebook version, Mindstorms. Participants will learn about possible content integration and student engagement/assessment. (20 minutes) Next, participants will learn about Raspberry Pi, including basic operation and features and possible content integration and student engagement/assessment. (20 minutes) Following Raspberry Pi, participants will learn about MakerBit, including basic operation and features and possible content integration and student engagement/assessment. (20 minutes) Participants will then have an opportunity to try out the MakerBit kit. During their time working with the MakerBit, possibly on a rotational basis, depending on number of participants, participants will have the opportunity to begin working alone or collaboratively to generate an outline for an integrated physical computing project to bring back to their school sites. (30 minutes)

Supporting research



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Taylor Cotton, Cajon Valley Union School District
Liz Loether, Rios Elementary School

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