I went to a training this week.  It was presented by Dr. Harry Cheng - professor at UC Davis and founder of the C-Stem center (Center for Integrated Computing and STEM education).  I learned so much!
     First, we started with Linkbots.  That's the image at the top.  T use this, you need to download C-Stem studio.  It's free of charge to use.  Besides the Linkbots, the platform can be used with Lego Mindstorms, Raspberry Pi and Arduino.   They also include RoboSim.   You don't have any robots?  You can still code and use RoboSim to run the code.   The Linkbots are fully functional robots that can even be linked together.  
     I've done coding and html before but I'd never done Arduino.  With this, you are coding with electronics.  For me, this was much harder.  Partly because it was hard for me to see the tiny, tiny ports and making sure they matched up.  I finally got it to work-light up the LED- but it took some doing.  Then we created a stoplight with three LED lights and a push button start.  I should have taken a picture of that!
     So let's say you have no robots but you want to try this out...RoboBlockly is the answer.  It's a web-based robot simulation where kids can learn coding and math.
     IMHO, if you're just beginning coding, go to Hour of Code or Made with Code.  But if you're looking for something deeper, go to C-Stem with Dr. Cheng.
     Check out these blogs for more ideas!


Integrating STEAM into Literacy Night

Integrating STEAM into 

Literacy Night

Our school has a variety of family events.  We have Art, STEAM, Literacy night etc.  However, I particularly enjoy integrating STEAM into what I do so at our last Literacy night, I read a great book and then did a STEAM activity.

We read Iggy Peck, Architect.  If you're not familiar with the series by Andrea Beaty, you need to get familiar with it.  I teach fourth grade but the kids love picture books.  In this tale, Iggy Peck is a builder from a very young age.  However, when he gets to school, his teacher, Miss Lila Greer, puts a stop yo all that.  She has a fear of heights from a traumatic event as a kid so she does not like tall things. He, of course, is miserable.  The story ends with Miss Greer seeing the error of her ways and having building becoming a central part of her instruction.

After the read aloud, we do the activity.  We built bridges!  Using marshmallows and toothpicks, students built the longest, strongest bridge they could. We tested it by putting it between two chairs and pulling them apart slowly.  When it fell through, we measured how long it lasted.  Kids had a lot of fun and learned terms such as: forces, tension, design, and why triangles work well in bridge design.  

So next time you're planning your literacy night activity, think about how to integrate some STEAM.  It's a lot of fun!



Dalmatian Celebration- 101 Days in School

Dalmatian Celebration
101 Days in the Classroom

Everyone does 100 days in the classroom but I'm a Disney girl.  Plus I like doing the unexpected!  So in my classroom, we have a Dalmatian Celebration on the one hundred and first day of school.  Here are some ideas for you.

The Basics

Wear polka dots.   Black and white are preferable but anything will do.  Take a class picture!  Take pictures throughout the day.

Language Arts

·      Write 101 words we’ve learned this year
·      101 days smarter in Language Arts (10 each): Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, Adverbs, Pronouns, Homophones, Synonym pairs, Antonym pairs, figurative language
·      Writing prompt: What would the world look like in 101 years?

·      Read One Hundred One Dalmatians


·      Stacks of 101 pennies
·      Estimation: How many pennies can I hold?
·      Race to 101 with a die
·      Different ways to show 101
·      101 is a prime number.  What are some other prime numbers and composite numbers?

·      Counting collections: I used Kix,  Cocoa puffs and Chocolate Chex.  I gave them fractions with unlike denominators (1/2 Kix, 1/4 Cocoa Puffs and 1/8 each of chocolate and regular chex) and had them make groups of 96.  Then they had to separate the leftovers evenly.

Social Studies

·      List things that didn’t exist 101 years ago.
·      What happened in history 101 years ago?


·      Make a foil boat that can carry 101 pennies
·      Use 101 items (gummies, toothpicks) to create a geodesic dome
·      Make 101 stars to hand around the room

·      Use 101 strips to make a paper link web
Physical Exercise
·      Do 101 stairs

·      Draw a Dalmatian
·      Create Dalmatian ears
·      Cupcake decorations

It's fun.  Check it out. 


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