During the 2018-19 school year, The Town School’s the 4th-grade faculty significantly reworked their Social Studies curriculum. The result was a year-long consideration of the question, “What is an American?”
For their culminating project, 4th-graders researched lesser-known participants in the American Revolutionary War–especially enslaved Africans, Black freemen, First Peoples, and women. Then, in their Technology class, using Tinkercad and working in small groups, students designed monuments to commemorate the “heroes” they had researched.
Once 3D-printed, we placed the monuments on wooden bases (which were cut and painted by the school’s Facilities Department). Affixed to the front of the bases were QR codes, which linked to Google Docs that contained information (composed in 4th-grade Writing class) on the historical figures’ wartime contributions.
The final product was displayed in the school’s library for all visitors to see and interact with.
During the 2019-2020 school year, in their Technology classes Nursery 4 (N4) and Kindergarten students worked on a project designed to expose them to some fundamental concepts of “computational thinking”—namely, decomposition (breaking down bigger tasks into more bite-sized pieces) and sequencing (putting a series of steps in order).
Using the book Fox Makes Friends as inspiration, students followed a recipe, of sorts, in order to (like Fox does in the book) ”make” friends—to construct pretend friends alongside real friends, their classmates.
Using a variety of craft supplies, N4 students created two-dimensional “friends,” while kindergarteners worked in three dimensions.
“When Fox wants someone to play with, he takes his Mom’s advice and sets off to make a friend. What happens along the way surprises him! Fox is about to make the best friends he could ever hope for, but not in the way he imagined.”
Image and text reference: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/books/fox-makes-friends-by-adam-relf/
- Short (one week, design document).
- Matt McGowan (solo project/assignment).
- Integrate tangible computing into another assignment done during the semester.
I elected to add a tangible element to the design I did for the course’s “Empowering narrative-making in others” assignment earlier in the term–a MinecraftEdu-based project entitled “The Great Mural of Our People” (the text of which is here, for comparison’s sake). Here’s the result of adding Makey-Makey to the mix–wherein students design simple, interactive machines that simulate laborers operating the same machine together: