As a part of the Benchmark Advance ELA unit on technology, our first graders have been exploring how technology helps us. They have read a number of texts that share about inventors and their cool inventions. They have also read how these inventions make our lives better and easier. Some examples have included how technology can help people who can't walk, how technology helps farmers grow and process our food, and how technology helps us communicate.
We watched a Brain Pop Jr. Video on design and engineering. It told us that you need to understand your problem and who it impacts. It showed to brainstorm ideas and then make a plan, and emphasized the point that your first plan doesn't always work!
We took a dive into Design Thinking together, and they helped me solve one of my biggest problems: having TOO MANY DISHES to wash! We had some conversation with partners to better understand the problem, and then together, we planned out the design of a dish-washing robot! They decided he needed a soap dispenser, a blow dryer, a scrubby wand, and most importantly, to be WATERPROOF!
Then, the kiddos thought of a problem in their life that needed to be solved. They came up with so many important problems! Some needed help cleaning, some needed homework help. One wanted a friend to play video games with him, and another needed help training to be a pro-football player! There were even a couple kids who said their biggest problem was having to clean up after their dog. Who wouldn’t want a robot to do that dirty job?!?!
We drew out our first plan on whiteboards, and then talked to partners about why our problem matters and to get feedback about how our design might be better. We improved our plan and then made our next version on a piece of paper. We colored our robots and event got to make it fancy by adding diode lights and button cell batteries. We didn't have time to actually model or build prototypes, but the kids had a great time exploring the process!
Then, we took a picture on Seesaw. Each student made a recording to describe what their problem was, and how the robot they designed could help solve that problem.
Click to LISTEN to what these FIRST GRADERS have to say!