Escape the Classroom

I have become enthralled with Breakouts from BreakoutEDU and have so many ideas for creating some of my own. I love puzzles and the idea of gamification of the classroom. Students love games and creating games for learning allows them to learn without knowing they are learning. It makes school fun. However, the skills students gain from participating in gamed based lessons are not fully measurable. How do you measure critical thinking, creativity or cooperation skills? There is no data per se to collect. You can't compare testing scores for creativity. Math skills are finite. Creativity and critical thinking that always seems so subjective. An assessment of an individual’s critical thinking

The Science of Back to the Future

It's "Back to the Future Day"!. Even if you are not a fan or have never seen the movie, by now, you know today is the day Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel to in Back to the Future II, well 2015 was the exazct day. While we might not have flying cars or shoes that lace themselves. We do not rehydrate our food and fax machines have for the most part "gone the way of the dodo". The movie did get a few things correct. The Cubs are in the chase for the World Series, however down 3 games in the semi finals. They need to pull out a 2004 Red Sox come back. We have 3D movies and drones that could walk dogs. Video telephones exist. Hoverboards while not exactly as depicted in the film do actually exis

Junior Girl Scout Robotics Badge 3

The final badge in the set begins with the second part of the Engineering Design Process. The badges are set up so that they build on each other so you can not really complete badge 3 without first completing badges 1 and 2. Just as with the Brownie Robotics Badge 3, the Junior badge has girls share their robot designs with their peers. This could be done through an exhibition for just the troop or as our troop will do, we will invite families to arrive early for pick up and girls will present their robot designs and talk about the engineering process. The second half of the badge is just like the Brownie badge. So instead of looking at Junior First Lego League, you should check out First Le

Junior Girl Scout Robotics Badge 2

One of the things I like about the "new" Girl Scout programming is the natural scaffolding the badge booklets and Journeys have built into them. This is something we naturally do in education and it is a pleasure to see in other disciplines as well and speaks to GSUSA's push for more in depth programming for girls as opposed to the individual skills sets of the "old" badges and patches. I call them the new programing even though the newer programming has been out for 10 years! While there is still a need for more skills based activities the breadth and depth of the program is refreshing and meets the needs of so many girls. So, as I said the badges scaffold, so the Junior badges build on th

Junior Robotics Badge 1: Programming Robots

The Junior robotics badge is similiar to the Brownie level badge. As this year is the first year the badges have been released, using similiar resources for both the Brownies and Juniors is not an issue. Several years from now, when those Brownies become Juniors and want to do the robotic badge as a Junior, that is another story! While using similar resources are fine between the age groups, it is important to scaffold the learning. Girls in grade 5 are vastly different than girls in grade 2. Second graders can apply what they have previously learned about the meanings of letters and numbers to more complicated material, and begin to develop their analytical abilities even further. In contra

Brownie Robotics Badge 3: Showcasing Robots

Badge 3 begins with the final part of the Engineering Design Process, sharing your design. Now, that the girls have plans, designed, tested and improved their robot design it is time for them to share their final design with the troop through a presentation. They should take the time to create a presentation about their robot and about the program they created and the problem their robot is "solving". Steps 3 through 5 is about learning about robotics and robotic teams. This is where I defer to my experience as a First Lego League coach. Our council has several Girl Scout Robotics teams that could be contacted to come give a demonstration during a troop meeting or that you might be able to S

Brownie Robotics Badge 2: Designing Robots

The second robotics badge deepens the understanding of how robots work and introduces the girls to the Engineering Design Process. The badge starts with learning about biomimicry. So, biomimicry is when a machine, a robot in this case, mimics the actions of a living thing (human, plant, insect, animal, etc). Bio means life, mimicry means imitate. So, innovation inspired by nature. Da Vinci even stated “Those who are inspired by a model other than Nature, a mistress above all masters, are laboring in vain.” Here are some examples you can share with your girls. https://biomimicry.org/biomimicry-examples/ The badge booklet suggests designing a robot inspired by a bumblebee. So, why a bumblebee?

Brownie Robotics Badge 1: Programming Robots

The Brownie badge dives right into programing and the essence of the Code.org partnership. I am going to dedicate a post per badge. Badge 1: Programming Robots Step 1 - You should start by looking at how robots operate by taking a look at some simple machines. So, what is a simple machine you might ask? Wheels, Pulleys, Inclined Plane, Wedge, Screw or a Lever. They work independently or in conjunction with each other. I have access to Lego from robotics and engineering classes, so they are typically my go to for simple machine demonstrations. Here are some build instructions for simple machines using Lego's if you have the Lego parts on hand. Check out this PBS Learning Video on Simple Machi

Daisy Robotics Badges

I was really excited to see that the younger age level STEM badges were released first. We typically lose girls in science and math between 3rd and 4th grade. This is much earlier than ever anticipated. Introducing girls to engineering, technology and the processes of the engineering design process are essential to keep girls engaged in STEM. Daisy Robotics Badge 1 - What Robots Do. This badge is all about learning what robots are and some of the jobs robots complete in today's society. Girls finish up by designing a robot that solves a problem. To start, since I am a fan of starting things with short videos, I would use one of the following videos and lead the girls in a brainstorming sessi

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