At-Home Hands-On Computer Science using the BBC microbit and the MakerBit in a 6th Grade Distance Learning Scenario
Abstract: In the school year 2019-2020, a pilot program was carried out with the BBC micro:bit and the MakerBit STEM & Computer Science Curriculum in three on-site 6th grade computer science classrooms. With the pandemic and the shift to at-home distance learning, the curriculum and instructional process was adapted for an approach that has worked well in the first part of the 2020-2021 school year in a structure where students work both collaboratively and with direct instruction through zoom sessions facilitated by the classroom teacher. Each remote learning class begins with the teacher reviewing previous work and concepts, and then introducing new material and tasks. Students self-identify as helpers, needing help, or on-track, and are directed to virtual breakout rooms of 3-4 students each where they use their own materials to construct working models of everyday digital devices, such as a traffic signal, digital timer, piano, and an mp3 player. The capstone project is for students to design and build their own electronic board game, with touch sensors, lights, sounds, and digital messages that are randomly chosen. In a 12-week trimester, student work aligned with 40% of the Calif. grades 3-12 computer science standards, with similar alignment in Indiana and New York. This curriculum is also appropriate for pre-service and continuing education teachers for effective learning in the area of computer science, computational thinking and physical computing.
Presider: Rachel Terlop, George Mason University