Monday, September 22, 2014

9/19 Neon Notes Update

1)  Kids assigned to become "experts" [read: focus research on] one of 3 areas:

Margaret, Sally,  Harper~   To learn about dyslexia; e.g., what is it? are there ranges/spectrums of involvement? how many people have dyslexia? when are most people diagnosed?, etc.

Jackson,  Melana , Graham~  To learn more about what (teaching) games/technology tools already exist to help people with Dyslexia learn anything.

Attia , Isaac, Anna~  to learn techniques available to teach anyone how to read music; e.g., computer programs, written instruction, games, etc. 

The general plan is for them to all spend some time outside of FLL meetings (together, solo, with Ms.Albach, parent assist, whatever works!)  and get some general findings on their chosen area to bring back to the group in 2 weeks / Oct 3rd. (did I get the date right, Sue?)

2)  Kids picked/teamed up for table/robot missions they will focus on:

~Cloud Access:  Harper and Anna

~ Sports: Isaac and Sally

~ Reverse Engineering: Jackson and Attia

~Using the Right Senses: Melana and Margaret

~Remote Communications Learning: Graham (willing to be a team of one!) :-)

The general plan for this is that the teams of 2 will get together and spend some one on one time with a coach ~ again, this will probably be outside of FLL meeting time/when it is convenient to get them together (with robots and their specific table pieces).

Monday, September 15, 2014

4010 Homework 9/15

Bryce - eReader scanning words and reading out loud.  Didn't get the brand that Bryce looked at, but it sounds something like this:

Cashion -- Dragon

Mateo - Google Glass, scan prinitng and can look normal

Ashton -- Disney Channel "This is Who I am", practice road signs, boxes

Ainsley -- Identical twin uncles with dyslexia.

Eva - Pen that records, pen that reads.  Something like this one:

Charlotte -- What is Dyslexia app,

Fiona -- TYping vs. writing, especially with a colored keyboard.  Sand spelling for additional sensory input.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Team 4010 (Jenny) Update

Last week the kids came home with their Core Values assignments.  Dates for their games are:

          9/12 - Fiona and Charlotte                        10/17 - Hudson
          9/19 - Bryce                             10/31 - Mateo
         10/3 - Ainsley11/7 - Ashton
         10/10 - Cashion  11/14 - Eva and WIll

Project work:  We discussed groups of learners and which ones might be interesting and accessible to use for our project.  The kids came in a lot of additional ideas for different groups of learners.  We discussed each and voted on the ones we thought would be most interesting/challenging.  In order of votes, they are:  

  • People with dyslexia
  • People who learn in a language other than their primary language (ESL, but also immersion programs)
  • People who are physically handicapped and thus might have difficulty with things like writing or turning pages.
  • People who are color blind.

From there we talked more about things we're passionate about learning.  We came up with:

  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Music
  • Math
  • Teamwork and collaboration
We also talked about education research that points to "grit" (the willingness to fail and try again, stick-to-it-tiveness or perseverance might be good synonyms) and how you build that that or whether it's a big factor for any of these groups. 

So, team homework is:  Look at one of the groups above and what the current methods and best practices are for teaching one of the things we love to learn.  Come in prepared to give details, explain why it's important and any ideas it sparks for what else might be done. 

Bonus:  Drill down to a specific concept or area in the broad categories as you look at how these learners are learning.  Some examples:
  • You might look at the specific challenges people with dyslexia face learning to do math problems or read music.
  • You might look at alternatives to traditional text books for people who aren't able to turn pages or who are color blind and wouldn't get much from color diagrams, charts, etc.
  • You might look at the challenges people who are in a school where they don't speak the primary language face in PE where they need to work directly with other kids or when doing group projects.
The more specific we are about what we would like to address, the faster we'll progress on coming up with possible solutions!  So, narrow it down in whatever way makes sense to you.   

Good sources:  A friend, relative or someone you know who represents one of these groups.  A professional or expert who works with one of these groups.  A website, article or book that covers how these learners learn (remember to write down where you got it!)

Team 3849 (Sue) -- Homework

Last week the kids came home with their Core Values assignments.  Dates for their games are:

          9/12 - Margaret & Melena                         10/17 - Isaac
          9/19 - Jackson                             10/31 - Harper
         10/3 - Attia11/7 - Sally
         10/10 - Graham  11/14 - Anna

Update from Lockie on project work and homework:

Our team has narrowed to two possible projects. These are still broad, and we need to come up something actionable but we are getting closer.
Here are the two possible projects. Recall that we need to solve the final project/problem using a solution that involves a game.
Also keep in mind that we need LOCAL resources to help with research as we travel down our path.
Here are the two possible projects
1. Learning about scientific experiments that involve explosions
2. Learning how to learn to read music
We brainstormed possible players for each (WHO) and we brainstormed types of specific explosives or music (WHAT) 

Learning about scientific experiments that involve explosions
1. military
2. congress
3. science teachers
4. children

1. TNT
2. Carbonate/soda

Learning how to learn to read music
1. Seniors/elderly
2. Hearing impaired (deaf) learners
3. Vision impaired (Blind) learners
4. children

1. Piano sheet music
2. Braille music
3. Guitar sheet music
4. synthesizer 

SO, your homework is to brainstorm to add to these.
Part one  Research scientific explosions. Who could we teach them to? What could we teach them? 
Part two: research learning how to read music.
Who could we teach to read music? What type of music could we teach? 

Remember that our solution must involve a game. So perhaps you do an internet search using keywords of "music, games, learning" just to see what currently exists. 
Or perhaps you do a search using keywords "explosives, science,  high school students"
We need you to come in with at least two ideas each for the WHO category and the WHAT category to add to the above! 

We will vote on our problem/project on FRIDAY!!! So, also be thinking about what you would like to spend the next several weeks researching. Think about what local resources are here to help. Can we ask Mr. Godeleski or Mr. Butler to help us with ideas on how to teach music? Of course we can!! Can we take a field trip to MOOG or a local music teacher? Probably!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

9/8 Practice Roundup -- Cross team groups

Robot build report from Sean: The kids got some great insight on which missions really need sensors, versus the ones that only seem to need them until you read the mission really carefully!  

George worked with a few kids from both teams on strategic analysis of the missions.  Our goal is to take the progress they made and have each team pick a start point come Friday.  

Programming report from Sarah:  I enjoyed working with Anna, Jackson, Cashion and Ashton on EV3 programming.  Software/hardware/incompatibility glitches meant we couldn’t download the programs onto the robot, so we did everything short of actually running the programs.

We walked through the green palate blocks, and looked at large motor, medium motor, move steering and move tank blocks in particular.  We had the robot in front of us, looking at how one wheel was attached to the motor plugged into the A port, and the other wheel was attached to the motor plugged into the B port.  What would happen if the A motor only were told to move forward – would the robot go forward?  (No – it spins in a circle).   We talked through turns and how the motors used and the direction of the motors can dictate the type of turn.   We measured the circumference of the wheel and talked about how to calculate the distance traveled.  The wheels on the robot we had in front of us were approximately 7 inches.  If we want the robot to travel forward 3.5 inches, that’s ½ of a rotation.  If we want it to travel 9 inches, that’s 1.286 rotations. 

The kids each did a very short program, which I promised we’ll run on Friday. 

9/5 Practice Roundup

We made a lot of progress!

Core Values:  All kids came home with a core value and a date.  Each kid will lead a game that relates to their core value on that date.  Shoot for 5 – 10 minutes for the game (they always take longer than we think!).  Links to some sources for games can be found here, but there are lots more.  Feel free to invent your own or use a favorite from any source!

Robot:  Hudson was the voice of experience leading the charge on getting a second starter robot built with Isaac and Cashion.  They did a GREAT job and were superstars as far as staying on task and working together with very minimal supervision.  Congrats, guys!

Programming:  Two rookies from each team got their feet wet with EV3 programming.  They figured out how to make the robot travel a specific distance based on the circumference of the wheels.  They drove it of the table (maybe I did that…?), tested a basic turn and talked about how to make sure your programs are understandable come tournament time. 

Project Research:  A small group from each team started working on how they will narrow down our VERY broad project focus into something specific and actionable.  Both teams came away with homework for this. 

·         Team 3849 (working with Sue) should be thinking of something they are PASSIONATE about that could be taught/learned through a game. 

·         Team 4010 (working with Sarah) has four possible learner groups that they will discuss and consider on Monday.  Kids are encouraged to think about these groups and pick the one they find most interesting OR come up with a group they are more interested in and be prepared to make their case to the team.  They also came to consensus that whatever solutions they come up with should incorporate the use of technology in learning.  Sarah provided an excellent summary of where they are that is posted here.  Please review that with your kids!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Team 4010 -- Update on Friday from Sarah

Hi folks.  We are off and running. Please read these emails so that you know what the kids accomplished at each practice, and can see what needs to be accomplished at the next practice, and can specifically see what HOMEWORK needs to happen between practices.  Seriously – we need the kids to know there’s homework, and to do the homework, and to bring it with them to the next practice.

I worked with Mateo, Ashton, Will and Ainsley about the research project today.  This year’s theme is “FLL World Class: Learning Unleashed.”  The team will need to state a research question in this form:  “How could we improve the way someone learns ____ (topic chosen by team.)”  

The team will spend 12 weeks researching their question.  The team will ultimately design a 5 minute presentation for the judges which (i) explains their research, and (ii) answers the question. 

Given that the topic is so frustratingly broad, the kids and I discussed the need to narrow the topic, and to set parameters to help guide the full team discussion on Monday.  We brainstormed possible topics, then we brainstormed types of learners.  The brainstorming really took off when we starting thinking about groups of learners -- did we want to focus on a topic that kids would learn, or adults? That led us to a discussion of people with particular physical challenges who need to learn differently.  We talked about how deaf people might learn through Google Glass eyewear;  or how non-English speakers might learn English through a real-time interpreter app; or how quadriplegics or paraplegics might be able to re-learn muscle movement with technology; or how braille keyboards help blind people learn.  It was a really neat discussion!

Our group is proposing four options for the full team vote on Monday about the type of learner to be involved in our research: (i) the blind learner; (ii) the deaf learner; (iii) the learner with physical limitations such as a quadriplegic or a paraplegic, or (iv) a non-English speaking learner.  We are asking team members to think about these options over the weekend – which type of learner would be interesting to research for the next 12 weeks?  Come prepared to vote on Monday.  If you want to add another type of learner for consideration, come prepared to give a 1 minute explanation of the type of learner you want to place into consideration.

After the vote on the type of learner, we’ll spend some time brainstorming topics that the learner might want to learn.  (If that is not settled on Monday, we will vote on the topic next Friday.)

Once we have a type of learner and a topic, our research will kick into high gear.  The kids will start to research the ways the topic is learned by this type of learner.  The research will take place once a week during the school day (during Roots and Wings), as well as during practice, as well as through homework.  A particular highlight early in the season is to take FIELD TRIPS to interview professionals or other experts in the topic area.  Once we agree on our research question, we can start planning lots of fun research!

After the research is underway, the team will need to start developing an innovate answer to our specific research question.  Will, Ainsley, Mateo and Ashton are in agreement that the answer should involve technology.  Perhaps learning how to do something via Google glasses, or through a “Siri Educator,” or perhaps a game like Minecraft.  Stay tuned!