Let me introduce you to our friend, Gary...
He's a Puppet Lab guy.
He's a world traveler.
He's a tech guy.
he's the guy that can talk CODE and PROGRAMMING to 10/11 year olds in "kid speak". And, that's what he did today in 5th grade science class.
The VERY first thing Gary did was form a connection with the kids. He started off with, "Remember when..." Our class had played a little game with Gary a couple months ago...Where In The World. We used our class Twitter account and asked Gary questions to narrow down what country he was presenting in (Sweden). The kids absolutely LOVED connecting with Gary over Twitter...so, this intro quickly pulled them into the lesson.
The talk of our previous Twitter game led to talk of the Arctic circle, hours of daylight, tilting of the planet...
Oh...and we talked language translation, geography, and money.
His big accomplishment (other than all that other stuff) was to make a really great connection with programming and Lego building for the kids. He compared the bits of code that they would be working with in class to Lego bricks. "Each little brick of code...that makes the whole thing work." That made sense (to the kids and me)!
Time to play...
Gary walked the fifth graders through code that directed the computer to:
-Assignment vs. Comparison
The kids were problem-solving with Gary as they worked through making the "computer do EXACTLY what you told it to do!" Using guess and check, thinking aloud, and reasoning, Gary led the students through a pretty complex set of tasks (in my opinion). Discussion of taking a bigger problem and breaking it down into the smaller parts to have "little victories" was exactly the message I want my young scientists to get!
The entire lesson focused on problem solving, math, language, and science. Talk of variables, errors, and resolution...pretty intense, right?
But, Gary definitely kept the kids engaged, working, and thinking.
It didn't hurt that he brought his audience Swedish candy!
He even managed to plug having more women in this field! Hooray!
find your GARY! That guy that'll spend the day connecting to your kids. We need professionals in our classrooms promoting problem-solving, critical thinking, science, math, technology, language.
Find him (or her)...
then, * 4.
Run that program ALL DAY!