STEM in Primary

STEM in Primary
A blog for those interested in primary school STEM education

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Coding in the younger years!

Coding in the younger years!

I was excited to read this week about a school near me that was in the local newspaper detailing how they have introduced coding for their five year old students. As they say you are never to young to learn...or something like that anyway.
The article detailed how the school was using BeeBots to introduce the initial concepts of computational thinking to this age group. The kids learn how to sequence actions to achieve a desired outcome and have to debug their sequence if it doesn't work. Whilst relatively simple it is a powerful and engaging introduction to the world of coding.
From there pre-readers can move onto Kodable and learn, without having to be able to read, abount sequencing, loops and conditionals.Then there is Scratch Junior and Daisy the Dinosaur if some of the Kodable lessons gets too difficult. I also like Lightbot Jr which also introduces basic coding concepts again without the need to be able to read.
Ultimately though these can just fall into the basket of "games" unless the teacher is reinforcing the Computational Thinking concepts that underpin each of these apps. Therefore, Teachers need training in Computational Thinking so they understand the end goal. There are a variety of resources available for teachers including Google's Computational Thinking course, The UK's Barefoot Computing website or the University of Adelaide's Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). Parents might like to view some of these as well so you can keep up with the kids!

Stuff in the news

SpaceX launch: Australian high school students play major role in NASA's resupply mission - It is awesome what opportunities kids can have when a school priorities STEM. An article from ABC News 15 August 2017
Encourage children to spend more time online, says former GCHQ head - Just about every country is talking about STEM. Robert Hannigan, who was head of Britain’s surveillance agency between 2014 and 2017, said that the UK was struggling to keep up with competitors when it came to cyber skills. An article from The Guardian 8 August 2017
Coding is the new cursive writing – and we have to embrace it - Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are becoming more necessary to succeed in the professional world. With the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI), the need for such skills will increase dramatically over the coming decade. An article from The Globe and Mail 23 July 2017

Stuff to buy

mBot Ranger - Transformable STEM Educational Robot Kit - If you want a more capable robot than the one I linked last week check out this one. I am a big fan of Makeblock products. Affordable for what you get and uses a Scratch-like programming language.

STEM Storybook - QUT Professor is launching a series of stories which teach STEM concepts to younger kids. Good to see Australians on Kickstarter!
*At this point in time I earn no money from any product I list and I am not affiliated with any other company.

Stuff in education

Students draw on range of skills for challenge - A good example of curriculum integration. An article from the Shepparton News 15 August 2017
The new Technology syllabus: preparing our students for an unknown future - The mooted restructure of employment lies with what academics are referring to as the Automation Revolution (the fourth industry revolution), as we embark on a disruption of technology like never before. A blog post from Grok Learning 28 June 2017.

Stuff to do Australia Wide

Australian STEM Video Game Challenge - For grades 5+.The Australian STEM Video Game Challenge will ask participants to develop games in response to a central theme or idea. Registration open 1 May and submissions close 25 August.
NSW All Schools Paper Plane Challenge - Calling all paper pilots. 2017 challenge is open. Closes 26 August 2017.
CodeCamp - Three day courses over the school holidays. Search for a school near you! 18-28 September 2017

LITTLE BIG IDEA -  The Big Competition for Inventive Little Kids (You could win a trip to NASA!). Closes 22 September 2017
NATA Young Scientist of the Year - Students are required to undertake an investigation around any topic relating to the theme of a sustainable planet. Closes 22 September 2017
CSIRO CREST Program - CREativity in Science and Technology. Engage your students with open-ended science investigations and technology projects through the CREST program.
National Science Week - Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology and thousands of individuals – from students, to scientists to chefs and musicians – get involved, taking part in more than 1000 science events across the nation. 12 - 20 August 2017
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Young Engineers Australia - Provides an engaging, hands-on learning platform using LEGO® and K’nex® assembly kits
CoderDojo - A volunteer run programming club
Code Club Australia - A global network of coding clubs for kids aged 9 to 11.

Stuff to do in Brisbane

Robotronica 2017 - Robotronica is a groundbreaking one-day event showcasing the latest developments in robotics and interactive design. QUT's The Cube 20 August 2017. TOMORROW!!
Wizarding Workshops - Workshops are designed to accommodate Potter fans of various ages. Participants are grouped according to year levels and work in teams to complete projects at their ability level, challenged and supported by teachers. Paddington.23 September 2017
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SLQ Digital Futures - Each year the State Library of Queensland presents a theme of interest to the Queensland community. Throughout 2017, they invite you to join in exploring Digital Futures.
STEM in a Box has ongoing coding, robotics and 3D printing activities
Brisbane Library Service has purchased the very flash NAO Robot and is showing it off in various libraries.
The Cube at QUT has a number of changing programs. 
Brisbane Planetarium - Features entertaining and informative shows for adults and children
STEAMPUNX - Not to be confused with the organisation above! Offers in-school and out of school workshop programs
Flying Fox Studios - A studio offering programs in the arts, music and construction areas from babies to teenagers in Brisbane
It's Rocket Science School Incursions - Educational and fully interactive project based rocket science incursions for primary and secondary schools in a safe and empowering learning environment.

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