Using the PrimaryConnections Science Program to Teach Technology

Using the PrimaryConnections Science Program to Teach Technology

Learning Area

Design and Technology

Year Level

Four

Strand

Technologies Contexts

Sub-Strand

Engineering principles and systems

Forces, and the properties of materials, affect the behaviour of a product or system (ACTDEK011)

This is from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA) however the equivalent for the Australian curriculum can be found online.

Link to the Resource

Hard Copy ($42):

https://www.primaryconnections.org.au/shop/2PC405-BK

Online resource available on Scootle for free; however, you will need to create an account:

http://www.scootle.edu.au/ec/viewing/S7161/Package-it-better-2012/index.html

To watch PrimaryConnections in action within the classroom click here and it will take you to their YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmx-UK7n-78qwCi4tnJYdDQ

Cross Curricular Priorities

Critical and creative thinking (CCT), Personal and social capability (PSC)

Links to Other Learning Areas

Science, Literacy, Mathematics

Some Background on the Creators

The Australian Academy of Science has linked science with literacy through the innovative program that is PrimaryConnections. The many lesson ideas and units created through PrimaryConnections use an inquiry-based approach to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills in both science and literacy; however, many of the lessons can be adapted to suit teaching different aspects of the curriculum. To find out more, please visit the PrimaryConnections website at https://primaryconnections.org.au/about.

Using this Resource

Whilst this resource is set to a quite specific year level and section of the curriculum, it is very easy to implement in the classroom. The program is an eight week course that is designed to cover an entire section of the year four chemistry curriculum. However; looking deeper into the content and tasks required of the students, it is actually a program that coincides very closely with the technologies curriculum. The program is essential lesson plans that include diagnostic, formative and summative assessments; with sequential lessons that build on each other with every activity. The entire program is extremely hands on, with each child being placed into groups and assigned a role, which is linked to improving personal and social capabilities. It caters for visual, audible and kinaesthetic learners. Much of the work is already done for you, it just needs to be adapted to have more of a technology focus if you so desire. If year four is not your year, PrimaryConnections offer science programs for every year level K-12, all of which have ideas on how to teach lessons based on technology. It is just up to you to adapt the program accordingly!

Plant Tycoon: How to replace a real life garden with a virtual one.

Plant Tycoon: How to replace a real life garden with a virtual one.

Learning Area

Design and Technology

Year Level

Although this game is targeting the curriculum for the younger years; unless you are experienced with playing the game I suggest it be used by years 3/4 to revisit the concepts learned in earlier years.

Strand

Technologies Contexts

Sub-Strand

Food and fibre production – Plants and animals used for production have basic needs, such as food/nutrients, water, space, protection (ACTDEK003)

From from the School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA).

Link to the Resource

http://www.bigfishgames.com/games/2135/plant-tycoon/?pc

Can be purchased online for $10 through Big Fish Games; however, once it is purchased once it can be downloaded as many times as needed!

General Capabilities

Information and communication technology (ICT) capability and Critical and Creative Thinking.

Links to Other Learning Areas

Science, Literacy

Using this Resource

Plant Tycoon is perfect for classrooms that want to teach the values of planting a garden but simply do not have the space or resources. The game allows students to create their own garden in a virtual world. They can water and fertilise their plants while also making sure they are getting enough sun. Plant Tycoon also allows the students to experiment with cross-pollination – seeing how the DNA of plants can combine in a simple way and make new creations come to life. Although creating a physical class garden would be ideal, not every class can do this. Plant Tycoon allows the younger years to learn about the basic needs of plants and the production of growing different types in real time which is different to other garden-based virtual realities. It also incorporates the learning of sustainability and economics with plant production; displaying to the students how plants need to be bought and sold to increase revenue. This resource is cheap and its real-time running makes it feel more true-to-life. It is relaxing, challenging and students can create at their own pace.

A Quick Video

Below is a video of some in-game action. Don’t be deterred if it looks too complex – it is much simpler than it looks! From 0:00-1:20 the game shows how  ‘people’ purchase the plants. This video is just to display how interactive the game is and how many different plants can be created; but as the teacher it is possible to restrict the game play to just growing the plants if you so desire.

Class Dojo

Year: Lower to upper primary

What is this? Class Dojo is a app that aids with behaviour management, as it helps monitor and guide student behaviour. It can be used by both the teacher and the students. It enables students to become responsible for their own actions, reactions and behaviours and can also help develop students’ ability to self regulate. This app can help create a sense of belonging in the classroom as students are shown as a whole class and can even be broken down into groups. This app can be used for more than just behaviour management however, as it can be used as a timer, as an attendance record, track homework and it has an instant messaging system to be used to keep in contact with parents. Parents can ask queries and seek responses from the teacher, and they can even be updated through the class blog. All students have the ability to post on the class blog but posts require teacher approval. In this way students are able to have access to their dojo from home, and the site even provides custom QR codes for students to scan in order to reach their dojo. As of last year, teachers are now able to use the site to send other teachers resources, which keeps the resources in one easily accessible account. The site also provides an introduction video for students and a letter to parents explaining how the app works. Not only is this a wonderful app that is beginning to be used in many schools, but it is also 100% free, making it easy for whole schools to adapt due to the lack of cost.

Here are some praise and examples for how other teachers use this app:
https://www.classdojo.com/en-gb/wall-of-love/?redirect=true 

Image result for class dojo avatars girlsHow this app aids with behaviour management: In this app, the teacher enters their class list into the app. Each student is represented with a customise-able monster avatar. The teacher can give individual or groups of students points and select a specific reason why from a list of observable behaviours (eg. listening, participation). Points can also be deducted from students. The app can either be displayed on an interactive whiteboard so that all students can view it, or can be operated from a computer, iPad or iPhone. This makes the app portable and provides access from where ever the teacher may take the students within the school. To make the app most effective, teachers should negotiate with their students a list of desirable behaviours that they can achieve points for. This way all students are aware of what behaviours they should demonstrate and creates a sense of accountability. Students can also be broken up into groups (either as desk groups or even spelling/maths groups, etc.) and can give group points. The points can be reset whenever the teacher chooses, for example at the end of each day or week. What the teacher chooses to do with the points is completely up to them. They can provide students with individual rewards or can even decide to give out whole class rewards. Reward systems and needed points can be tweaked to suit the year level.

Image result for class dojo rewards whole class

 

 

Application in classrooms via the use of the curriculum: I have seen this app effectively implemented in a range year levels, such as year 2/3 split class and even a year 5 class. However I will relate this to the year 4 curriculum.

Year 4 curriculum (SCASA)

Subject: Technologies

Strand: Digital Technologies

Sub-Strand: Knowledge and Understanding/Digital Systems

Content Descriptor: Digital systems and peripheral devices are used for different purposes and can store and transmit different types of data (ACTDIK007)

This content descriptor was chosen because aspects of the app directly relate to this. The app enables teachers to track, mark and keep record of student homework. Students each have their own individual accounts, which students can use to upload their homework and assessment pieces. The uploaded work is presented as a portfolio, and allows parent and peer access.

References

Class dojo. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.classdojo.com/en-gb/?redirect=true#LearnMore

School Curriculum and Standards Authority (SCSA). (n.d.). Retrieved from http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/p-10-curriculum/curriculum-browser/technologies/digital-technologies2

Technology as if people and planet mattered

Technology saving millions of lives.

As simple as a smoke extraction system?

Over four million people die each year after inhaling smoke from kitchen stoves and fires.

Most victims are women and young children. But these are deaths that could be prevented – using simple solutions.  

Have you been looking for authentic content?

Technology as if people and planet mattered – catchy title? I was hooked…

Who would have ever known that the world of Technology was so HUGE!  It’s not really enough to write just one or two blog posts for a university assignment, to reflect the distraction that all this new information has inflicted on my days.

With a strong passion for justice and equity I am thankful for the Australian Curriculum, General Capabilities for giving me permission to incorporate Ethical Understanding, Intercultural Understanding, Personal & Social capability and Creative and Critical thinking into my professional life as a teacher. Whilst I am thanking the Australian Curriculum, let’s say YAY!! for the Cross-Curricular Priority of Sustainability.

If you are looking to broaden your perspectives on Technology and its uses, check out this website. http://practicalaction.org

“Practical Action is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries.

We find out what people are doing and help them to do it better. Through technology we enable poor communities to build on their skills and knowledge to produce sustainable and practical solutions- transforming their lives forever and protecting the world around them”.

Subject:                 Design and Technologies

Year Level:          Teachers of all year levels

Strand:                  Knowledge and understanding 

Sub strand:         Technologies and society

Technologies contexts

  1. Engineering principles and systems,
  2. Food and fibre production
  3. Food specialisations
  4. Materials and technologies specialisations

Strand: Processes and production skill

Sub strand: CREATE SOLUTIONS

  1. Investigating and defining
  2. Designing
  3. Producing and implementing
  4. Evaluating
  5. Collaborating and managing

Using this resource…

Build your content knowledge and be supported with ready-made resources.

Practical Action is just one of many organisations promoting the positive use of technologies in developing countries. It offers many ideas and resources to use as inspiration for your technologies content. A free book (link below) on the subject of social justice is also available through their website. Supporting power point presentations and resources from Practical Action can be found on the TES website.

https://www.tes.com/member/PracticalAction

“A powerful new book sets out the need for looking at technology from human and environmental perspectives, and how to change the status quo”.

http://practicalaction.org/rethink-retool-reboot

Free download of the book at this address

http://www.developmentbookshelf.com/doi/book/10.3362/9781780449043

An article on Technology perspectives from Simon Trace – author of Rethink, Retool, Reboot

https://www.eiuperspectives.economist.com/simon-trace

 

Did you know?

‘that burning an open fire in your kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour”

Dr Kirk Smith – Professor of Global Environmental Health.

BE CHALLENGED AND BE INSPIRED

 

 

                                            

 

 

Superhero Coding Game

Year Level:
F-2

Subject:
Technologies

Strand:
Digital Technologies

Sub-Strand:
Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills

Content Descriptor:
Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems (ACTDIP004).

Link to the Resources:
http://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/superhero-computer-coding-game-without-a-computer/

Cross-Curriculum Priorities and General Capabilities:
Literacy, Numeracy, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Capability and Critical and Creative Thinking

Links to Other Learning Areas:
Science, Mathematics and English

A Classroom Activity Using this Resource:
This is a simple coding game to introduce th basic concepts of coding without using a computer. Students will get the opportunity to create the board game with the objective being that the superhero has to avoid bad guys and get the jewels. Students will use sticky notes to create a sequence using basic coding commands that will determine the path the superhero has to take. This board game can be used in early childhood settings to introduce basic coding commands before introduced to coding on a computer. As students develop in confidence with the commands, the game can be modified to a more advanced level. This coding game is based around the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) initiative. STEM allows us to use current technologies that allow us to drive innovation in our fast-changing economy.

How to use this resource:
To make this game you will need:

  • A poster board/A3 piece of paper
  • Craft tape or ruler and marker
  • Post it notes (3 different coloured piles)
  • Superheroes
  • Obstacles
  • Jewels

Start by creating the board using either an A3 piece of paper or a poster board. Using either craft tape or a marker and rule create the lines for the grid. Once you have drawn the grid establish a starting and finishing point.

When creating the command cards we use three basic commands. Forward. Turn Left. Turn Right. On top of each pile of sticky notes
draw one of the commands.

Place the obstacles and jewels on the board to make it difficult for the superhero to reach the finish line.
Start the game! Ensure students have ample space to lay out the code in front of them. As students move the superhero they will layout the forward,turn left and turn right cards in front of them. They need to determine the shortest route to get to the finish line and collect all the jewels.

Advanced Version – students use the sticky notes to plan their commands before they go. Then move the superhero trough the series of commands to see if they were correct.

Kodable

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Subject: Technologies Year Level: Suitable for all years

Strand: Digital Technologies Sub strand: Digital Technologies Processes and Production Skills

Recognise and explore patterns in data and represent data as pictures, symbols and diagrams (ACTDIK002)

Follow, describe and represent a sequence of steps and decisions (algorithms) needed to solve simple problems (ACTDIP004)

Overview of Kodable: Kodable makes learning to code fun for students. They must drag and drop commands to program their fuzzy character to get through a maze. By doing this, they learn problem solving, computational thinking, sequence, conditions, loops, functions and debugging. These are skill necessary for learning any programming language.

Kodable includes interactive tutorials for each new concept. Students can learn new programming terms and logic without any adult assistance. The tutorials are completely voiced and walk kids through the first problem in each new lesson.

You can also download the app for free on your iPhone, iPad or tablet!

For more information and to purchase visit: https://www.kodable.com/resources

 

 

Edison Robot

Edison Robot

Subject: Digital Technologies

Year Level: F-6

Strand: Both Digital Technologies processes and production skills and Design and Technologies

Sub strand: The Edison Robots can be used across all ages and many strands and sub strands of the Western Australian Curriculum.

Link to the resource:

http:// meetedison.com

https://www.mindmeister.com/823700803#

Cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities:

Critical and creative thinking, Personal and social capability, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Literacy, Numeracy

Links to other learning areas:

Science, Mathematics, English, The Arts

Interesting information about this resource:

Western Australia’s Scitech hold inexpensive Professional Learning workshops throughout the year which enable teachers to upskill themselves not only on the technology supplied by the Department of Education in the new technology kits but also more (ie Beebots, Dash and Dot robots, Edison robots, Makey Makey kits, Sphero robots, Hummingbird robotics kits, mBots, Lego EV3, LittleBits). Scitech workshops are often recognised by the Teachers Registration Board of WA as professional learning hours.

Qualified staff from Scitech will also attend schools and run incursions introducing the Edison Robots to the students and teaching them the basics.

Edison Robots have wheel encoders which allow Edison to travel specific distances at exact speeds. Edison is able to  turn to specific angles (using EdPyApp.com) and drive straight. It has a clutch in each gear box that prevents damage to the gears if the wheels are forced around. It has long range obstacle detection and a clap sensor. Edison comes with graphical programming software (EdWare) and newer software is often realised to complement EdWare ie EdPy – a free Python based programming environment for Edison which is designed to introduce students to a written programming language.

Other features of the Edison Robots are:

  • FREE robotics lesson plans
  • FREE robotics activity mat
  • FREE EdBooks
  • LEGO® compatible
  • Easy to use – suitable for all ages

A classroom activity using this resource:
Introducing the Edison Robots into the lower primary classes as a “toy” not only gains the students’ interest but it also enables the teacher to use computational language within the classroom in a less intimidating game situation.      

In small groups the teacher can guide the students to design a bulldozer using Lego pieces attached to the Edison Robot. Once designed and built they can then use the programming software (with the help of the teacher) to instruct the bulldozer to move extra Lego pieces from one area to another. Ideas are only limited by the imagination, you can even program it to do a drawing by attaching a pencil!

How to use this resource:

The Edison Robot can be purchased through https://meetedison.com, this site is also where information on using this resource is found.

The programming can be done using numerous free software applications and is easy to do due to the drag and drop graphical icons.

The robots are able to be updated with the free firmware updates that will fix bugs or add new functionality.

Babble Dabble Do

Babble Dabble Do 

Subject: Design and Technology

Year Level: Year 4

Strand: Design and Technology

Links to resource or website:

http://babbledabbledo.com/

Links to other learning areas

Science

Technology

Mathematics

Art

Review:

Are you game enough to make Oobleck with your students?

Know how to make marbled milk paper?

Challenge your students to find different ways to balance paper triangles!

One, two, three…Stixplosion!

Babble Dabble Do connects students by engaging their creativity, offering endless activities as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics collide. Although online lessons are ready to be implemented into classrooms to support curious and inquisitive minds, parents can access the website too.

A former Architect and furniture designer, Ana created the website as a means of compiling fun, challenging activities that encourage imagination and creation in the minds of children.

Divided into the four areas of

  • Art for Kids
  • Science for Kids
  • Engineering for Kids
  • Design for Kids

Babble Dabble Do fosters a desire to question, inquire, investigate and most importantly, take steps to problem solve through setbacks and obstacles. With activities that directly link to the Australian curriculum Design and Technologies, Science, Mathematics, Arts, as well as opportunities to implement Digital Technologies, Babble Dabble Do is a ‘must’ in effective teaching and learning.

Facilitate and cater to the creative needs of your students by bookmarking this website!

Image retrieved from http://babbledabbledo.com/

JPearce

Lego Education

Subject: Digital Technologies

Year Level: 3

Strands: Digital Technologies

Image retrieved from https://education.lego.com/en-au/product

Links to the resource:

https://education.lego.com/en-us

https://education.lego.com/en-au/product

Links to other learning areas

Science

Mathematics

 

As an educator, have you ever felt something missing from your teaching, that one thing that connects you to your students’ thoughts and imaginations? Do you facilitate students’ expression of creativity and inventiveness? Is your planning reflective of opportunities for students to articulate their inspirations and aspirations? For generations, Lego has endorsed the importance of accelerating childrens’ imaginations through creative play. With the mission statement of ‘Inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow’ Lego has moved from the confines of our homes and into the classroom with Lego Education.

Lego Education introduces WeDo 2.0, a valuable resource where students are encouraged to explore and build brick by brick, and then innovate through computers and coding. From the moment they begin building, students are engaged in the process of computational thinking, using digital software to problem solve as well as their curious imaginations to create. To begin with, students follow instructions of what to build, how to build it and step by step sequencing using the accompanying computer program. Once they understand the basic framework of Lego Education, they are then free to explore using their imaginations to create.

YOU are facilitating their learning of design and digital technologies as they imagine, create and play. YOU are providing valuable moments for your students to access digital technology in a meaningful way, with determination and purpose.

How to use this resource

Students follow the steps to assemble their creations.

Teacher assists in connecting to an iPad or laptop.

Log into the LEGO Education software.

Students use coding to manipulate and control their creation.

 

 

Paddock to Plate: Get your hands on my food.

Subject: Design and Technologies

Year Level:3-4

Strand:Design and Technologies – Knowledge and understanding

Sub strand:Food and fibre production

Yesr 3 – Types of food and fibre produced in different environments, cultures or time periods, including the equipment used to produce or prepare them

Year 4 – Types of technologies used in food and fibre production or processing, including how they are used to help meet consumer needs

Link to the resource

http://www.primezone.edu.au/item_details.php?item_id=413&item_type=resource&content_list_id=2

Cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities

Critical and creative thinking (CCT),Personal and social capability (PSC),Information and Communication Technology (ICT),Literacy (LIT), Sustainability

  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Personal and social capability
  • Ethical understanding
  • Intercultural understanding.

Links to other learning areas

English,

Science – Science understandings – Chemical Science – A change of state between solid and liquid can be caused by adding or removing heat (ACSSU046)

Science – Science as a Human Endeavour – Nature and development of science – Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE050)

A classroom activity using this resource

This is a well structured resource that allows the teacher to teach a lesson exploring the process of food from the paddock to the plate. It involved the students working through learning stations where they explore the ways in which food changes from the raw state to make it suitable for consumption. The stations offer different processes such as chemical changes in food or the processing of a food item. The stations are inquiry based and hands on allowing for addressing student misconceptions and creating thought and discussion to promote ideas.

How to use this resource

This useful learning resource includes the lesson plan, power-point and all the printable classroom support resources to match. It is very easy to follow and provides opportunities for extension activities and further research. It is clearly laid out with suggested assessment and student reflection sheets for reporting the groups findings back to the class. This lesson links well with the Science curriculum when investigating states of matter and the changes that occur.