Last week I was excited to receive our order of ‘Littlebits’, 15x starter kits. It is basically an electronics set which snaps together via magnets to create circuits.
The first session comprised of letting the children ‘play’ with the components and figure out what they did (Outcome: I have identified what each component does in the circuit).
Littlebits Intro from S Fox on Vimeo.
During the next session, they planned how they could use the circuits, along with art/craft material to produce some kind of product. This could be a toy or something to perform a job.
In literacy we have been writing 5 sentence stories using given openers. We have used ‘Rory’s Story Cubes’ app to generate ideas for our stories from the pictures rolled.
As an end of term treat, the children were given 5 Rowntree’s Randoms sweets to do the same task. They had a level 4 features checklist to adhere to. If they were successful, they could eat the sweets! Some great short stories were created which could easily be extended into longer writing, had we had more time. They posted their stories on The learning platform as a blog reply.
Here are some examples of the stories written and some pictures.
This year, over the course of a half term, I allocated some time for the children to plan and carry out their own projects in school about anything they wanted. This was based around Google’s ‘20% time’ in which employees can spend 20% of their time working on their own ideas. My instructions were that children must be able to state what they are learning at all times, in addition to what they have learnt previously and what mistakes/lessons have been learnt. This kind of learning directly addresses the ‘learning muscles’ referred to in many books and research papers. It also focuses on the higher level of blooms taxonomy, creating.
Overall the project was reasonably successful. Some groups were obviously a lot better than others and needed little guidance. I carried this out in year 5 so they were reasonably independent. If trialling this in lower years I would consider giving example projects to the children, especially lower ability, so that their projects would have more structure. I would also give older children a copy of the (new?) national curriculum and ask them to highlight which areas they would address during their project. This could help to focus them on learning specific to the curriculum.
Below are some pictures of some of the projects, along with some examples of the ‘learning records’ I asked them to complete.