Middle School Computer Lessons, Robotics projects in Middle School.
For more ideas read this blog and be sure to check out www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com to find ebooks containing the best computer lessons on the web!
Robotics in the classroom.
Many or most of the Middle Schools today incorporate robotics into their curriculum. Lego Mindstorms NXT is the best way to do so. But if you have no training in the subject “Robotics” may seem like a daunting task to teach.
I have been teaching robotics in my classroom for over 10 years. That is 8 times per nine weeks times 4 nine weeks for 10 years….it’s a lot of classes. So, I am calling myself an “Expert” in the area.
I use robotics as the carrot to entice my 6th and 7th grade students to look forward to 8th grade Computer class. When the younger students see the 8th graders working in the hallway on their robotics it causes a bit of a scene. Suddenly there is a huge line by the water fountain and all the students are mesmerized by the robotics.
I let my students form their own group. I usually shoot for groups of 2-4. Groups of 3 seem to be ideal. Occasionally a group of 5 will work out too. I assign each student a job, actually they pick thie own job. There is Builder, Programmer and what I call “Flex”. If there are more than 3 in the group there will be more than one student with a particular job. However, I tell them that this is a team project, so every member has to be able to do every job, and they need to work together. Is someone is absent, another team member needs to step up to fill that position. This usually works out well.
Every day, I make sure every team member is doing something. I ask them “what is you job today” and “Where are you at in the project” and if they dont have an answer for me I know that that student is not pulling their weight in the project. I tell the groups that each student starts with 30 points and every time I have to tell someone to get to work or get busy, they will lose a point. Usually, I only need to take one point away from a single student per day. Most groups are doing what they are supposed to do.
For this project, I allow groups to work at their own pace. I give them a series of 20 challenges. As they complete them they check them off on a sheet for all the groups to see. This allows me to see where any group is within the project at any time. It also allows me to change aspects of the project easily from one group of students to the next, if I desire.
I usually do this with my 8th grade students for up to 4 weeks. Some classes that are not working so well will only do it for 2 weeks. Occasionally, we may do robotics for as many as 5 weeks.
My complete Robotics project will be soon available for purchase in the form of an Ebook Student workbooks, Teacher guide and PowerPoint complete with video demonstration.
For this and all of the best middle school computer lessons on the web, check out http://www.middleschoolcomputerlessons.com