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Fall SAVY 2018, Day 2 – Intro to Coding and Robotics (3rd/4th)

Posted by on Monday, October 8, 2018 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY blog.

Dear SAVY Parents,

It was another great day with many learning adventures!  What do we do when our programs don’t work?  What if our robots don’t do what we tell them to do?  We learned about Grace Hopper and the story about how she first popularized the term “computer bug”.  She helped make the UNIVAC all-purpose computer, invented the first computer compiler, and co-created the first computer language COBOL.  As the first woman to receive a doctorate degree in mathematics from Yale, she also inspired us to do the math for programming in geometric art projects.  Students considered their knowledge of degrees in a circle.  Logically, what are the degrees in a straight line.  Using definitions of various regular polygons, can we observe values for internal angles for squares?  What about triangles in a square?  Can we calculate external angles for each and prove those with multiple strategies and representations?  How can we use this information to make our coding both effective and efficient?

Students took part in a discussion about computer systems.  All systems have boundaries, elements, inputs, outputs, and interactions.  Systems can be functional and dysfunctional.  Inputs from one system can come from outputs of another through interactions.  Within computer systems, humans can input information through keyboards that is stored in memory and processed for informational outputs that benefit humans in work and play.  How are modern devices such as iPhones blurring the lines of humans and computers in their interactions.  Do we say please to our computers when we give them audio commands? Ha! Do we forget in using social media we are interacting with other vulnerable humans?  What is digital citizenship, and what are the implications of not observing this issue?  Are devices helping humans to collaborate? In response to this discussion, we learned guidelines and practiced pair programming.  Two heads are better than one, especially when they code together.

Next, we worked on Mars as emergency communications specialists.  Students worked to send messages from Mars by coding Sphero robots to write out message when other communications systems were down.  “Wait what was that message?  HEAT?  HAPPYHELP?”  Students periodically rated their skill levels with this tasks based on their ability to communicate needs to mission control on earth.  How would they respond when viewing our messages?  What problems do we need to solve in robotics and coding to save our crew? 

Here is a video of the message we sent to Mars.

Finally, we began and ended our day with this inspirational video about perseverance.  We may need to take a break.  We may need to walk away to get a new perspective, but we can never give up if we are to succeed!  

We are looking forward to seeing parents, families, and siblings next week at the Open House and showing off some of the new coding and programming skills we have been working on at SAVY. Be on the lookout for an email from SAVY with more detailed information about the Open House. See you Saturday!