Chariots of Fire

Room 5 & 6 we have been learning how to program a Sphero to pull a chariot in a race around the school hall.

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We started with a learning intention; we are learning how to design and build a chariot and program a Sphero to pull it.

This activity required quite a lot of research, what is a chariot? Planning, how can I make one? Building, what materials do I use? Testing, does it actually work? Modify, how can I make it better? This was great practice to use the research skills and skimming and scanning techniques when reading that we have been learning in class.

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The biggest test, however, was how to attach the Sphero to the chariot. The Sphero is round and needs to be able to roll freely along the ground while pulling the chariot. This took a lot of trial and error, some problem-solving skills and perseverance. A real test for some of our key competencies.

Why teach STEAM?

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.– Susan Riley, Arts Integration Specialist.

(Education Closet)

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Benefits of STEAM learning

Students who participate in STEAM learning:

  • think outside the box.

  • feel safe to express innovative and creative ideas.

  • feel comfortable doing hands-on learning.

  • take ownership over their learning.

  • work collaboratively with others.

  • understand the ways that science, maths, the arts, and technology work together.

  • become increasingly curious about the world around them and feel empowered to change it for the better.

(http://elearning.tki.org.nz/Teaching/Future-focused-learning/STEM-STEAM)

Coding your Sphero

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When all the building was done and recorded then the kids were presented with the next challenge, code your Sphero (horse) to race around the hall. Sphero’s can be coded either by drawing the shape you wish the robot to make, drag and drop block coding (blockly) or using Javascript language. We used drag and drop coding using commands based on time, speed and heading.

Why teach coding?

Coding helps students develop systematic reasoning, problem-solving, and communication skills

Coding, or computer programming, is giving a computer step-by-step commands to tell it what to do. This can include making websites, games and apps. Common coding languages include HTML and JavaScript.

Why teach coding?

Students who have mastered coding can construct, hypothesise, explore, experiment, evaluate, and draw conclusions.

Coding is an important and necessary future-focused literacy. It is included as part of the school curricula in many countries who recognise this. (elearning.tki.org.nz).

I learnt how to research, design and create a Roman chariot for my sphero horse.  I think I collaborate well with my team and did well with our project. We also didn’t make the finals but we did well with our model and we did have to make some modifications to it I liked this activity so much. Ihaka C

We are learning to research, design, and build a Roman chariot for our Sphero horse. Today we learned how to design and research to create a Roman chariot to race against our classmates. We researched about the Roman Empire and their chariots. Then we designed and created a Roman chariot for our sphero horse. We had to work together to get the final design built. We started out ok then it started to get complicated, then the hot glue started coming off and it took forever to fix it, but then our idea changed and it was a success. When we tested it, it went quite fast and sometimes it did have to pick up speed to go faster. These are our self-reflections: Donald, I reflected, created and imagined. And I’m an expert at these tasks. Leroy, on this task most of the group was an expert at this task. We reflected on the task by this caption. I am an expert. Kelsyn I believed that I am an expert at this task. Carter, I am kind an apprentice at this but I am good at creating I did most of the chariot.

Carter, Donald & Kelsyn.

I have been learning how to research design and build a Roman chariot for your Sphero horse. The bad thing was that the first test the wheels didn’t go around so it didn’t go anywhere.The good thing was we got to modify it so it would make the wheels go and it worked we got another tester the next day and it worked it was a bit slow but it doesn’t matter. I learned how to code.

Hannah J

Watch our 'Chariots of Fire' video here

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