Our goal with this workshop is to introduce teachers to a successful way to incorporate a playful and engaging robotics unit into their curriculum. We will make available our slideshow to attendees so that they can walk away with a concrete lesson trajectory to prepare students to successfully compete in the robotics competition at the end of the unit. Teachers will get an opportunity to try out an abbreviated version of the competition during the workshop. Though there is a lot of substantial information and strategies in the slideshow, attendees will gain a keener insight into this unit through participating directly with the competition element of the project during the workshop. Not only all of that, the workshop is going to be fun and exciting.
Outline of our presentation with approximate timings:
-Introduction - Who are we and what we are going to do in this session. (3 min)
-A description of the progression of activities and mini-projects that gets the students ready for the Last Man Standing tournament (10 min)
-Last Man Standing - rules and video introduction (3 min)
-Now it is your turn: Introduce the truncated version for this workshop. (2 min)
-Introduce Birdblox (an iPad programming environment that connects to the Finch Robots) (3 min)
-Attendees will break into small groups to work together with one robot. Pass out robots and iPads to the small groups. (4 min)
-Give attendee small groups an opportunity to connect their robot with the iPad. They will do some brief exploration of the interface and experiments with controlling the robot. (4 min)
-Discuss/demonstrate tips on how best to control the robot using Birdblox. (3 min)
-Attendees will practice scoring points (knocking a pingpong ball off of an upturned cup) and strategizing techniques for offense and defense during the game. (12 min)
-Set up matches between groups while the groups are working
Attendees will compete! (all matches will run simultaneously) (3 minutes)
-Attendees return Finch Robots and tidy up (2 min)
There are innumerable books, articles, and experts who speak to the benefits of using creative invention, robotics, and playful approaches to learning. One of our main sources of inspiration is Gary Stager and Sylvia Libow Martinez’s book Invent to Learn. We have also been growing our understanding of play and its relationship with learning through books like The Playful Classroom by Jed Dearybury and Julie Jones. We have also been looking at the work being done at the International School of Billund in conjunction with Lego regarding playful pedagogy. Additionally we were excited about the research being done at Project Zero about the Pedagogy of Play.
Stager, G., Martinez, S. L. (2019). Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom. United States: Constructing Modern Knowledge Press.
Dearybury, J., Jones, J. P. (2020). The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for All Ages. United States: Wiley.
International School of Billund Case Studies and explanation documents
Project Zero at Harvard research into the pedagogy of play