“When will get our accounts?” is a refrain among Third Graders. Here’s the answer: once all signed Digital Citizenship agreements are in, Third Graders are receive their own Friends Google Drive accounts in Tech class.
Third Graders learn their usernames and password well and then have access to Google Drive’s documents, spreadsheet, and presentation tool. As they gain this exciting new privilege, Third Graders learn to keep their passwords private and how to share files responsibly. They also will start using their Drive accounts on the iPads in the classrooms.
Letters to Buddies
“What are favorite things to do at school? What do you like about Friends? My favorite subject is art and I like to ride my bike.” In letters to kindergarten buddies, Third graders ask questions and share interests. This project helps students get to know their new Friends Seminary Google Drive account and gives them a meaningful reason to practice their word processing and typing skills.
When Third Grade Tech students use the MIT programming language Scratch, they create their own characters and don’t rely on pre-made clip art. Their unique delightful drawings become actors or “sprites” in Scratch animations. With blocks of graphical code, Third Graders program their characters to move towards each and communicate with each other without interrupting. With movement commands Scratch commands and costumes that change, third graders also make something unexpected occur. They animate! Since this year’s crop of Third Graders were exposed to the programming language Scratch during their Second Grade Science Trebuchet project, they’ll be able to hit the ground coding.
During the Third Grade Scratch project , Friends Seminary Google Drive accounts are helpful because students can use them to backup and share the creatures that become the characters in the coding projects. Once their Scratch projects are complete, uploading their Scratch work to Google Drive will allow students to proudly share accomplishments with their families.
For our data unit, Third Graders become familiar with the spreadsheet in Google Drive. They can search for Friends Seminary Third and Fourth graders who share similar interests. While in-depth graphing is done in the Fourth Grade, third graders are introduced to basic charts in Third Grade Tech.
Ozobot might only be 1 ½” wide. With this little robot in hand, Third Graders learn powerful lessons about designing, building, programming, and editing. This robot follows paths that students draw and revise either by hand or with a drawing program like Illustrator. Ozobot also responds to programs that students build with Ozoblockly, which is a lot like Scratch. At Friends we have a set of 18 Ozobots, so students have the opportunity to work on projects individually, in small groups or even as a whole class. This year, the mighty Ozobot will travel across intricate collaborative maps. Each child in a class will draw part of the windy route.
With Lego WeDo construction sets, students build whimsical creatures. Scratch programming helps these creatures come to life. In addition to programming motors to turn on, off and run at varying speeds, students also learn about detecting motion with sensors. For example, a Lego alligator can be programmed to begin to chomp when it detects a hand near it’s mouth. In this unit, collaborating with team members, learning from trial and error and creating a clear user interface are emphasized.
As third graders create original designs and sequence their pictures to tell a story, they are introduced to digital design concepts – copying and pasting, understanding objected oriented vs. pixelated graphics, transforming objects, and using layers. Students will also learn how to upload their creations to Google Drive. For inspiration, we will watch and critique animations from The Children’s International Film Festival.
Once Third Graders have developed Google Drive, Programming, Graphic Design and Design thinking skills, Third Grade students can choose among interactive projects and activities. This choice happens either later in the year or during recess periods. Each year the projects vary
Here are some possibilities for the 17 – 18 school year:
- Program Ozobot to live in a doll house
- Build more structures with Lego We Do and use use sensors and motors to connect with Scratch.
- Tell stories through animation
- Explore more advanced Scratch Game Programming
- Design paths for a marble run; add a sensor!
- Construct a coin operated Automata