As part of Villa's $1M STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) initiative, Villa K through 5 students will soon begin dedicated computer science learning with two intensive efforts. Right after Thanksgiving break, they will focus on a three week coding unit. After returning from Christmas break, they will dig into robotics for another three weeks. Says Teri Rutledge, Villa's Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, "This is just one step in upgrading our current technology progression." In working on the K-5 progression, Lower School tech teacher Shea Sayler has included age-appropriate and exciting tech tools to engage students in the learning process. Examples include:
- Code-A-Pillar: Introduces our youngest students to problem solving and critical thinking as they "program" the codeapillar to crawl along paths of their own design.
- The Finch: This small bird robot is designed to aid students in programming by giving them a tangible and physical representation of their coding. It can support a dozen programming languages and be used over a range of ages.
- LEGO WeDo: Introduces students to robotics with software that teaches programming in an intuitive way as they build LEGO creations with working motors and senors and sharpen their logical reasoning, pattern recognition, and modeling simulation skills.
- Go Pi Go: This is complete kit to build a robot car, and can work on many levels from young children to grad students!
In Middle School, students will participate in December's Hour of Code, and current planning is underway for a dedicated tech progression that fits into an already full class day. As Teri says, "We want Villa grads to be fluent in coding and comfortable using a range of technology to enhance their learning and help them create, design, and collaborate."