Visit 2 to Upper Grand DSB – 2016

UGDSBWhat can I say? I got to play again! I am really liking the push to use robotics and coding in the classroom to engage students in learning and enhancing their skills.  My visit to Upper Grand DSB started with a beautiful drive to Fergus Ontario where about 20 teacher and teacher librarians met for their final LC Project session. Their project has a focus on coding collaboration in the Learning Commons. To read more, have a look at their project page: or watch their first LC video:

ChallangeThe morning was our “play” time! The group was sent on a “breakout challenge” quest consisting of three parts with clues and tasks to complete, which then unlocked the final and fourth challenge.

Challenge 1 We-Do’s:IMG_2743
You have a virtual key living in your WeDo sensor, but you have to figure out a way for your WeDo robot to protect rouge sprites from easily getting to it.
Challenge 2 Empathy Toy:
Play Empathy game with a builder, guide and observer.  Observer needs to document on the 6 C’s that the builder/guide use during the task.
Challenge 3 EV3’s:
Your EV3 also has a key that can stay protected if the Sound of Music can keep creativity thieves away.
For each completed challenge the team received part of a Google short code (xcq, https://goog.le and UYg  ) that needed to be put in order and entered to go to the final challenge – very coolIMG_2730!
The final challenge: For each one of the 6 C’s, write a couple of bullet points describing how your work has or could be connected. They then shared their thoughts in the UGDSB Collaboration Google Community.
Awesome problem solving, collaboration, sharing and learning!
In the afternoon, the group spent some time sharing the work and learning they have done in their schools. The sharing included:
  • Hosted a math night during education week and set up a lego station with coding.  Parents were as excited as the students to come, build and code.
  • Grade 7’s created screen casts on how to set up the WeDo’s for the younger grade students.
  • When coding was a club, the names of the clubs were like “geek squad”, “the nerds”… very stereotyping.  Once everyone started coding, the labels stopped.  It will be interesting to see who gets involved with robotics challenges in the future.
  • Teacher mindset changed: first they thought to only show different tools in coding with a progressive approach, that there is a certain order to introduce new tools; now the teacher will just pop in a few new tools as it comes up.
  • The group discussed a lot about process of learning, not just the end product!IMG_2756
  • Found that students were really starting to support each other and not having to turn to teacher for answers.
  • Using a blog for students to post what they did or learned that day and what will they try the next time.  Found that this led to students helping and answering their peer’s questions.
  • One teacher found an article on how robots have to go through the Japanese nuclear disaster and find fuel rods, but no robots returned from their mission due to the heat.  They modelled a classroom challenge around this.   Students discussed how difficult it would be for a robot to navigate an unknown building

 After the sharing, there was discussion on where they have come from and where they might go for next steps.  They did a little exercise on: the 4 storeys of teacher confidence in the use of technology using this graphic.

Their next steps:  to show that robotics and coding is not just a sci-tech thing, but can be used for all parts of the curriculum.
After the session, I went for a walk in downtown Fergus…beautiful 🙂 Zoom in on the Brew House pic to see a bi-plane flying over on the right side of the building.  Wish I had a zoom lens and not just my phone.
IMG_1939 IMG_1936

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