site logo

Reach Out does STEM with Computing

As technology is being applied more and more in the classroom, we were keen to host our first dedicated computing and electronics day.

Inspired by robotics, the event asked each attending school to build and program a Lego Mindstorm EV3 kit, made up of bricks, motors and sensors.

After 1 hour of building complex models, children connected their EV3 Bricks to the programmer app on iPads and experimented with programming components.

Using Action and Flow blocks on the EV3 app, children completed a series of coding demands to become familiar with their robot. These included: “Program your robot to travel for exactly half a metre”; “Program your robot to travel forwards for 3 rotations then turn 90 degrees”; “Place a piece of white paper on the floor about 50cm in front of your robot. Use the ‘Wait’ block to program your robot to travel forwards until it reaches the white paper and then travel backwards for 5 rotations.”

We were thoroughly impressed with the natural coders in the room, quickly taking to the EV3 software with ease and programming their robots to perform numerous manoeuvres.

As teams became more confident with coding and programming, they were asked to reprogram their robots to complete a full course around a maze.

This task was a test of team work, communication and perseverance as pupils raced against the clock to complete the challenge before home time.

Aims

Combine STEM with computing and electronics to engage children in kinaesthetic programming.

Share specially designed STEM and computing resources.

Encourage critical thinking, reflective learning and team work.

Background

Part of the new curriculum of computer science, information technology and digital literacy is to teach children how to code, how to create their own programs; not just how to use a computer but how to make it work for them. STEM with Computing introduced children to familiar Lego resources and tablet-computers to communicate instructions and adapt an engineer's eye to problem solving.

Resources

Resources critical to the success of the event include Lego Mindstorm EV3 kits, iPads with EV3 Programmer application and specifically designed resources by teachers of Computing and Maths.

The day was lead by teacher of Maths and Outreach coordinator Miss Taylor, supported by Teacher of Chemistry and Computing, Dr Critchley, as well as support staff.

Impact

The day focused on two main areas: developing fine motor skills through building and developing digital literacy with coding and programming.

Part of the new curriculum of computer science is to teach how to code, how to create programs, understand how computers work and how to make programs work you the individual. By asking children to build and program a robot to complete a series of tasks, children had to think logically, creatively and intuitively; skills akin to engineer observations.

Once children moved on from building to looking at code and programming their robots to complete a course, some became independent learners, predicting what instructions their computers needed to complete a task, establishing confidence in articulation and information technology

Pupil Involvement

46 pupils from city and county primary schools, made up of boys and girls in Years 4 and 5. 

Frequency

STEM with Computing is part of a STEM dedicated 2017 - 18 provision for partner schools.