Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Interesting Video

Hey friends!

I was given this video during my training in Pittsburgh! It made me think! What do you think about it? Write me a comment!

Robotics Unit!

Hey everyone!

I am having a sale on my robotics unit from now until school starts, which is August 19th. The product will be $5.00 until that date and then it goes back up!

Keepin' Afloat in the Classroom Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Hurry and get it now! :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

NXT-G Instructor Certification

Hey friends, 

I thought I would share that I passed my NXT robotics training course completely today! In order to pass as an instructor, you had to take this 2-hour final exam of 84 questions. I took the test in 30 minutes with a score of 95% on my first try! I am a bit proud and I feel very confident that I can teach robotics to children. I feel like I can program myself, troubleshoot student work, and encourage young students to create their own programming masterpieces! 

Here is a copy of my certification completion!

Yay, me! :)

NXT Training Photos

These are some photos from my NXT robotics training in Pittsburgh. Some of the photos are were given to me from the National Robotics Engineering Center so they are not my actual photos. The photos in the back are all of my photos as evidence by me being in so many of them.

Monday, July 29, 2013

My New Teaching Space!

Hey friends!

I thought I would share a section of my new classroom with you! This is kind of my desk area for all of my "keep them close in case I need them items". That space can never be to big, right? 

These last few weeks, my mom and I have been trying to work out the last few details in getting my room organized and ready for some young minds to learn and explore robotics! (For those of you who don't know, that is sorting thousands of little Lego pieces that all sort of seem to blend together after hours and hours of sorting... THANK YOU, MOM!!!) I have prepared my room, so I am so excited to welcome my new students! It's going to be a fantastic year! 

I'll post more on how I have organized my Lego robotics materials after I get some new pictures on Thursday! Have a great week friends! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lego NXT-G Robotics Training at the National Robotics Engineering Center Trip

Hello friends,

I have been in the lovely city of Pittsburgh this week at the National Robotics Engineering Center learning how to mold student minds with the Lego NXT-G robotics and software. Programming anything was quite new to me, but leaving now with this new information makes me feel much more comfortable teaching it in my classroom. I not only know how to program these tiny technical machines, but also know how to troubleshoot and identify misconceptions in student programming. Now, the only obstacle to overcome is the incoming EV3 models that are being shipped to my classroom on August 1st. I have been working with the model before that and using a wonderfully detailed and easy to understand video trainer that is not yet available for the EV3. I think the EV3s will be used for my students who are already familiar with the NXT-G and are ready to move on to a bit more difficult robot.

The programming of these robots was much easier than I anticipated. I thought that I would be working with a text-based programming, but was quite thankful when it was a visual language (for those of you who don't know, it uses pictures). It made understanding the background of what the robot was being asked to do a lot easier than I originally anticipated. I expected it to be more like ALICE, Python, or Scratch.

As far as what I learned and used with the NXT-G robotics, I learned to use several different sensors when working with the robot (sound, ultrasonic, light, and touch sensors), programmed in duration times, used switches and loops to help the robot make continual decisions until I asked it to stop, worked with reactions to thresholds, etc. I learned more in the four and a half days that I was in Pittsburgh than I think that I would have in doing the software independently for a few courses. By taking this, it caused me to have way less headaches this year and cause me to be able to do more teaching with my students than teaching myself as we go.

Thankfully, while I was in Pittsburgh, I met several great people who I now call good friends. We took several "adventures" as we called them, including getting lost after dinner and having to call for a pick-up, going to a brewery inside an old Catholic church, meeting a therapy rabbit in training (it was on a leash and knew basic commands!), going to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, eating a hot dog at the famous "O" restaurant, going on a ducky tour, having dinner at Bucca de Beppo with great friends, etc. It will definitely be a trip to remember.

I will post pictures in a while, but for now, it is time to board my flight home! Talk soon!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Robotics Training with Carnegie Mellon University

Hi, everyone!

I realized that this post and the last one have been the first ones I have done since April! OOPS! So much for one a week! :) I will try harder!

As I mentioned in the last post, I am now teaching robotics and that I know NOTHING! So, this week I am taking a training course for teachers in Pittsburgh, PA at the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University to learn how to work with and program the Lego Mindstorm NXT-G robotics kit. Today was Day 1 and I have already learned more about these robots than I thought possible. There are sensor attachments, multiple types of turns, etc.  I've programmed robots to navigate multiple mazes using different commands and sensors. My, oh my, am I on a REAL steep learning curve! It has been an adventure. I am also not the only mid-twenties person in the room! (I will admit that this was a fear of mine!) I am so excited that I am not the only "youngin'" in this training! I've paired up with another gal who is also in her second year of teaching so us "young bucks" can stick together!

Tomorrow, we take a tour of the facility. It is a high security facility, so I am not allowed to take any pictures. :( Sorry, guys! I get a disk of photos I'm allowed to show at the end of the week. There are project going for places like John Deere, Cat, the military, Toro, etc. so we have to be given badges to even get in to the facility.

I'll try to keep you updated on my adventure! Have a great week! :)

P.S. Favorite quote of the day "Teachers fix understandings, not robots!" or "Teachers fix understandings, not robots!" It can be read two ways and mean two different things! :)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Introductory Robotics Unit

Hey everyone!

As some of you may know, I have accepted the position in my school district to teach 3rd-6th grade gifted education. With that position, I have been given the task to teach robotics. As many of you know, I know nothing about programming or robotics or anything other than robots are children's toys. I am quickly learning that there is so much more to robotics than meets the eye. We work with Lego Mindstorms NXT-G robots in our program.

Since I am now teaching gifted, I am required to take the necessary courses to receive my gifted education certification. Certification for gifted goes K-12 so it does have a broad range in which to work with. This summer I took an online Gifted Curriculum course through Mizzou and absolutely loved it! As the final project of the course, we were asked to write a unit with five lessons, an overview, assessment, etc. Of course, knowing me, I overdid it, as always. I worked on creating a unit for my students to introduce them to robotics. I created a unit for 3-5th graders based on the Common Core with 8 lessons, parent letters, a schedule, etc. I would like to share that with you. There is a link below to send you to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store to purchase the unit.

Introductory Robotics Unit

It is 21 pages of materials. It has the links to all of the resources of items that were not explicitly written into the unit. I loved putting this together and plan on using it next year with my 3rd-6th students. The standards are written through 5th but many of the standards are similar through 6th. If you do get a chance to look through it, please do and leave me comments or suggestions! I would love to hear from you!

Until next time!