At-Home Hands-On Computer Science using the BBC microbit and the MakerBit in a 6th Grade Distance Learning Scenario
Abstract: This session presents a pilot program carried out both on-site and in distance learning with three 6th grade computer science classrooms at a computer science and media arts magnet middle school using the BBC micro:bit and the MakerBit STEM & Computer Science Curriculum. In the distance learning model, 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.