STEM in Primary

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

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Coding helps with Maths!

Stuff this week - Coding helps with Maths!

One of the great things about coding is it shows how math is used in a practical way. You will find, especially if your kids start coding in prep, that they will have to learn aspects of maths that they would not normally for years. I think that is great because if they can grasp it then why not!
Image result for scratch shapes
So what sorts of mathematical concepts am I talking about? Angles may be the fist thing they come across. When they want to draw a square then they need to know that they need to turn 90 degrees at each corner. On the topic of shapes they will reinforce their understanding of those as they draw them out on the screen. When drawing on the screen they will need to learn about Cartesian coordinates because the characters can be moved around to x and y coordinates with the centre of the screen being 0,0. This means that to the left of centre and down from the centre the numbers are negative so they will be introduced to that concept.
As things get more sophisticated they will need to use math to add, subtract, multiply and divide as they work with numbers to produce the outcome they need. Then these skills are usable when they start to work with spreadsheets and need formulas to work with data. 
What coding really does well is allow kids to visualise a lot of abstract concepts.
There is such an interest in this overlap between coding and maths that in the UK there is a research project being undertaken to examine the effectiveness of using coding to teach mathematical concepts. It is called ScratchMaths and for at least the next month the curriculum can be downloaded for free!
So get your kids coding and see their maths improve as well!

Stuff in the news

STEM push hotting up - The momentum continues to build for a proposed $400 million STEM centre in the Hobart CBD. An article from 18 July 2017.
How Coding Develops Resilience - Without a healthy dose of perseverance, it’s unlikely any project or task will get done. An article from the Tynker Blog. 
Is Digital Literacy the Most Important Kid Skill? - So how are schools preparing young people to navigate this brave new world where they spend most of their time, make many of their friends, and are exposed to an avalanche of new information? An article from the MiddleWeb Blog 26 June 2017.
Programming = Batter Maths Skills + Fun - The conventional belief has always been that kids interested in programming should develop strong math skills. But it might actually be the other way around.An article from the Tynker Blog. 

Stuff to buy

Latest 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

Building mathematical knowledge with programming - Maths is difficult in part because of the language in which it is expressed. Can we find a different language – and set of ideas and approaches - that is more open, more accessible and more learnable?
Students enjoy Australia's first STEM adventure holiday camp - Year seven and eight students from 40 South Australian schools are sciencing-up their school holidays in an Australian-first. An article from ABC News 19 July 2017
Opportunities to Integrate Coding Across the Curriculum - Coding has become a buzz word we hear quite often, particularly in discussions around how to implement the Digital Technologies curriculum. An article from Scootle Lounge3 July 2017

Stuff to do Australia Wide

LITTLE BIG IDEA -  The Big Competition for Inventive Little Kids (You could win a trip to NASA!)
NATA Young Scientist of the Year - Students are required to undertake an investigation around any topic relating to the theme of a sustainable planet.
NSW All Schools Paper Plane Challenge - Calling all paper pilots. 2017 challenge is open.
Opportunities and Obstacles for STEM Education - Free public lecture at the University of Melbourne 15 August 2017
Program Computers to Talk - Coding with Speech Synthesis for Kids - Read this blog post from Tech Age Kids to see how you can get your kids into experimenting with speech synthesis. Its easier that it sounds!
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.
Young ICT Explorers -  A non-profit competition, which has been created by SAP to encourage school students to create their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) related projects. Registrations are OPEN. See the YouTube video here!
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 network of coding clubs for kids aged 9 to 11.

Stuff to do in Brisbane

EKKA Scratch Coding and 3D Modelling Challenge - Submit entries online for display at the Ekka from 17 August 2017
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. BOOKINGS ARE OPEN!!
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.
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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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