Search This Blog

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cooking up some Pi, week 2 (Teaching 3rd grade compsci with Raspberry Pi)

Reviewing learning targets for lesson
Week 2 of our Raspberry Pi unit with the 3rd graders was just as exciting as the 1st, but with quite a few more challenges. As the first major coding and computing project that I've worked on with a primary class, both the students, partnering teachers, and I have learned a lot in the process.

Below, a break down of our successes and challenges in finishing up our Raspberry Pi projects.

Week 2 Successes--
  • Students started using some academic language in conversations about their work (i.e. inputs, outputs, programming, etc.) 
    • We (the classroom teacher, ELA ToSA and I) supported this language acquisition by using a word wall with sketches that support meaning, TPR (total physical response), and language review at the beginning & end of each coding lesson
  • Students demonstrated ability to use debugging strategies when their code didn't work they way that they wanted it to (i.e. rereading their code and analyzing for errors)
  • Students were able to restate a basic explanation of how inputs and outputs work on a computer
  • Students could name some of the parts of the Raspberry Pi computers
  • Students were successful in lighting LEDs with Scratch and programming animations to trigger along with the LEDs lighting up... and some had their cameras working right away!
Programming Pi
Week 2 Challenges--
  • A couple of our monitors did not play nicely with our Pis. We haven't totally figured out why, and were able to fix the problem with one by wiggling cords, but one monitor we ended up having to replace
  • The biggest challenge... frying 3 of the mini SD cards! We're not completely sure how this happened, but have a couple of theories...
    • Unplugging devices without shutting down (which happened numerous times when we couldn't get our monitors to read our Pis... although, thinking back, this might have also been because one of those SD cards was fried early on
    • Bent SD cards... even after explaining to students that they needed to be careful of those cards hanging out the back of the Pis, students had trouble getting the devices in and out of their cases and remembering the cards were there... 
  • Getting the PiCameras working the 1st time, mainly because I forgot that I needed to enable the camera on the Pis before they'd work... once I remembered that step, students got their PiCameras enabled and working on the last day of coding
  • Bits of code not working right... and none of us being able to figure out why. A couple of times we just decided to trash the whole program and start again!
What did we learn?
Working together in Scratch
A ton! Students learned quite a bit about how computers work, what coding is, about the election process, how math and ela concepts relate to coding, how to work as a team, how to communicate in collaborative situations, and more! 

Teachers learned what types of management strategies work (and don't) for this type of project, learned some more troubleshooting techniques, and realized the need for organization of materials and peripherals. I also learned along the way what parts of the programming lesson need to be tweaked a bit and what information I need to add to make instructions more clear.

We ended week 2 excited for the next week's presentation!

No comments:

Post a Comment