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Digital Detectives: Developing Computer Science Engineers of the Future
Children building robots

In the last 5 years, the Waterford Public Schools technology committee has worked to embed computer science throughout the K-5 curriculum.  We feel strongly that this type of learning fosters experiences that build perseverance and creativity.  As students apply coding concepts, they are thinking critically, iterating, and developing strategies for dealing with challenging problems and ambiguity. We have perpetuated a culture where failures or mistakes are valued as an important step in the learning process and students are rewarded for taking risks. We have included more work with robots as a means for students to connect written code to physical world actions and everyday classroom experience/curricula.  We have worked to creatively embed coding throughout the school day during classroom instruction, computer lab time, special events and after school clubs.  

Wherever possible, we are embedding coding skills into our instruction to strengthen our computational and design thinking of our students. In Math, digital perseverance centers were implemented in Grade 3. As new NGSS Standards were woven into science units, strong consideration was also given to embedding the ISTE standards. In Grade 2, a Lego WeDo component was embedded into a Matter Unit.  In Grade 4, robotics with Dash and Dot was embedded to teach binary code in an Energy Transfer Unit.  Students designed “Kindness” collages with Made w/ Google (a coding site) to enhance our SEL curriculum.

Weekly scheduled computer science lessons during computer lab time expose our students to coding in various ways that tie into our district’s curriculums. Sites and programs such as Code.org, Tynker, Scratch, and Scratch Jr. are used.  In addition, robots like Bee Bots, Ozobots and Dot & Dash are regularly embedded in lessons to empower our students to create, design and persevere with. STEM challenges are also presented to students to lead them through the entire innovative design process.

Since 2014, Hour of Code (K-5) has become an annual day-long event.  It involves interactive coding center rotations. Students also participated in an “Innovation Station” Lab Activity which included programming drones and robots.  They moved seamlessly between four coding programs and fearlessly explored new technologies/devices.  Advanced coding (K-5) was also offered on Robot Days that integrated Legos with coding.  A “Science Night” was held and a portion was dedicated to computer science through coding robots. Several after school clubs are dedicated to computer science (K-1 Coding Club, 3D Printing Club and FIRST Lego League).

CONTACT

Laura McCue   |   LMcCue@waterfordschools.org   |   (860) 442-1095

  • Critical Thinking
  • Curriculum
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  • Technology