Sunday, February 18, 2007
Hands on, Hearts on, Eyes on, Minds on!
From Good Shepherd School we moved on to St Bernadette’s School to visit a Year 1 Class were some children have had some experience with their Bertie Bee-Bot late last year.
The children were using a teacher prepared mat, a simple multi-coloured grid “Journeys” were being planned so that Bertie Bee-Bot could visit his friends “Sid” the teddy and “Pinky” the chameleon - some small soft toys placed on various squares.
The focus of learning here was definitely on problem-solving and developing visualisation strategies. Being more experienced with their “Bertie Bee-Bot”, the children in this class were using much more technical and precise language eg they were able to describe sequences in terms of the number of “commands” they had programmed and could provide accurate explanations for using the “pause” “go” and “clear” buttons.
The emphasis on thinking and problem solving was evident with the teacher modelling setting “challenges” for Bertie. eg “When you’re thinking about how Bertie’s going to get to see his friend Sid, I want you to make sure that one of your commands is PAUSE.”
Students were given significant “think-time” before any “solutions” were tested, thereby ensuring that all students were actively engaged in trying to solve the challenges. During this think-time, students could be observed devising paths and “tracking” by pointing with their fingers, head nodding or following with their eyes.
Students were also encouraged to use their creativity to generate alternate solutions, carefully reinforcing the idea that there may be a variety of solutions to a problem – essential knowledge about thinking and problem solving for young learners!