## Is There Math in Building Robots?

It seems building robots is frivolous…an extra activity….not really necessary…just for fun, BUT I recently had the privilege to attend a 5- day robotics summer camp, which opened my eyes to the skills involved in learning robotics.  Elementary students in grades 2-5 worked with VEX IQ robotics in teams of 2-3.

1.The first day they built the robots from the kit directions.

2.The second day they practiced having the robots drive to certain points on a floor mat.

3.The third day they programmed the robot to go to certain points on the mat.

4.The fourth day they learned to drive the robot with a controller.

5. The fifth day they put all they had learned into practice and competed.

The day they competed was my favorite day because I got too see the students excel with all they had learned.

Here are the major skills I observed kids learning during the process of building robots:

1. learning interpersonal skills by working in teams to accomplish a goal
2. learning and communicating in angle measures because they had to program their robot to turn
3. learning the difference in mm and inches as they had to program their robot to move a certain distance.
4. estimating distances as they had to program their robot to stop at a certain point
5. exercising perseverance when a part of their robot didn’t quite connect correctly or behave correctly when programmed

Below you will see some photos showing the first mat students used in learning to drive their robots.  On this mat students programed  their robot to turn and learned about distances.  Their task was to program their robot to drive from home (the orange sign) to their friends house (the green sign) to the movie theater (the pink sign).  Then they were to program their robot to drive their friend back home and return to home themselves.  This task was way more challenging than it appears.

For your students who are unmotivated, what better way to create motivation than to have them do a culminating project of building robots after they learn measurement or as they learn measurement skills.

So I am going to fumble through learning this with my students this year.  I will be a novice robotics coach learning along side the kids.  🙂

## Try this New Free Math Website!

Earlier, I showed you a video about how to set up an account with iKnowit.com.  iKnowIt is a fabulous new math website that gives students a variety of practice problems to solve through a fun and interactive new platform.  Now, I am going to show you what a student sees when they experience iKnowIt.  Remember iKnowIt is absolutely FREE until August 2018.  Give it a try!  Happy Viewing!

Did I mention I love the chipmunks! (wink, wink)

## How to Set Up an IKnowIt Account (free)!

Guess what?!  Have you heard about this great new math website?!  There are math lessons set up for kindergarten through 5th grade.  Students are given a score for problems they get right so that you could potentially use this for a quick grade. Winning!  Right now you can set up an account for your class absolutely free–until August 2018 that is!  In the following video, I show you how to set up your free account and how to assign lessons to your students.

I have to share two great videos one of our teachers found for teaching doubles math facts.  She also inspired me to find a video for bonds of ten.  This year our district opened up the You Tube site for us to use.  Previously You Tube  had been blocked.  The kids absolutely L-O-V-E the doubles videos!  They are great if kids are restless or need a moment to move since they have a fun beat.  See for yourself!

Now, in my head when I’m going home, I’m singing, “Doubles, Doubles I can Add Doubles.”

## I Just Saw the Most Brilliant Use of a Flip Cam!

When I stepped into a classroom yesterday I was so intrigued that I couldn’t leave.  Before I spill the beans on what I saw, I must say this.  There has been a lot of emphasis at my school about having students share their work for a lesson closing.  This idea could also spill over into the common core mathematical practices in which students must “construct viable arguments and construct the reasoning of others”.  Now I understand that when students share their work in front of the class that this does promote other students’ higher levels of thinking as other students decide whether they agree or disagree.  On the other hand at this late point in the school year the downfall of student sharing is that even with a doc camera and students’ micro phoned voices other students attention spans are likened to a fly hovering over a summer picnic buffet.

Now, onto what I saw.  Ms. T was showing students a flip cam video of herself talking to a student named ‘Briana’, who was solving a double digit addition problem with base ten blocks which she had taped during the students’ work time.  She showed the video to students after their work time and paused it after the questions she asked Briana in the video.  Then Ms. T would ask the class what the answer was to the question in the video.  The class would respond.  Then Ms. T would un-pause the video to allow the class to see if Briana answered, counted, or exchanged blocks correctly.  I absolutely loved this–so much more engaging than regular sharing!

Thanks to the literacy people who ordered these flip cams with literacy money! 🙂  They were originally bought for students to do book talks.  Using them for math sharing–so much better in my unbiased opinion ;).

## Fabulous App Find!!

I just discovered a new app called Show Me similar to an interactive white board on the ipad.  A kindergarten teacher shared with me today how she uses this app in her classroom.  She uses a class set of ipads and has the students record themselves talking as they are  solving math problems.  The app has the ability to record the students’ voices and actions on the screen as they are thinking through their problem.  Students can write on the screen with their finger or a stylus in several different colors while they are solving their problem.  Pictures can be imported from the ipad files or you could email yourself a picture from another file to have it on your ipad. For example, if you wanted to solve problems with color tiles, then you could build some colored squares in another program and email them to yourself.  This particular kindergarten teacher, however, explained how she had students  solve CGI problem types on the ipad while they recorded their voice and writing on the screen.  She did this in order that she could hear their thinking because she wasn’t always able to make it to every student to hear their thinking.  Later she would take the ipad home so she could hear the students solving their problems.

## You Will Want to Bookmark This Freebie!

The librarian at school forwarded me this fabulous site with ready made smart board lessons!  Great for K-5 students.  There are many fun and interactive  lessons for math, geography, history, science, phonics, literacy.  Take the time to browse.

## Do You Need an App for Almost Any Discipline?

Use this link for almost any app you can think of.  The link will take you to a nearly exhaustive chart of all types of educational apps sorted by discipline.  Some of them are free and some are not.  These would be great to compile a list for your students’ parents or to use in the classroom if your school has access to ipods or ipads.

## Free App for Your iphone to Learn Mental Math Strategies

Our school’s guidance counselor came to me the other day and told me about an app she had discovered on the iphone–Mental Math Ninja.  This app teaches mental math strategies using videos all for free.  I learned some mental math strategies from watching these videos.  Just when I thought I had learned most of the mental math strategies there were from being a math coach and attending many workshops, I learned more!  Some of the videos included are:

• Rapidly multiply by 11’s,
• Calculate a 15% tip
• The Secret to Mental Addition