As a Keystone Teacher in the Keystone Technology Innovator Program, Villa’s Kindergarten Teacher, Miss Kate Beck, enjoys incorporating technology as a transformative tool for her students. “Friday afternoons is STEM Friday,” says Miss Beck. “Friday afternoons the girls are usually tired from the week and STEM is so engaging that it helps to keep them learning and going.”
In a Keystone Conference she attended this summer, Miss Beck learned about an Ozobot Smart robot that was good for the kindergarten age group to utilize as a learning tool. An Ozobot robot is a tiny, one-inch robot that follows a drawn path and changes functions based on color. “The girls are able to use the robot both on paper and with the iPads,” says Miss Beck. “So far, they have found that “Ozzi” does not move along paths that are certain colors, and cannot follow a path in which the lines are different thicknesses.” The girls had fun making shapes and paths for the robot to glide along.
Soon the girls will work on coding and programming Ozzi using apps on the iPads to make him go different speeds and directions. They are also going to play with using him as they draw and trace out their site words for ELA.
Last Friday, Miss Beck had the girls building inclined planes using building blocks and Legos. “They learned about inclined planes before Christmas, so they had some knowledge of them already,” said Miss Beck. “I challenged them to try to build an inclined plane and get Ozzi to not only climb up the plane, but to stay at the top. I purposely chose the Legos so they had the ridges and bumps so they would have to try both options. The point with the engineering is you keep trying until you find what works and you make it better.”
Children have an innate curiosity about the world, and by simply allowing them to investigate, and encouraging them to ask questions, we are helping them to engage in STEM and strive for a love of life-long learning.