This winter, fifth graders at Hockinson Heights Elementary school used principles of computer science and robotics to deepen their understanding of NGSS standards related to Mixtures and Solutions. Students in Crecia Page’s class first learned about the basics of block coding as they programmed games and simulations about the properties of mixtures and solutions. Next, students expanded their understanding and integrated computer science and engineering skills by building robots that modeled how mixtures and solutions work.

Students built their robots out of cardboard, popsicle sticks, paper cups, and other inexpensive supplies. They used Hummingbird Bit robotics kits, loaned by ESD 112, to power their creations.

“It’s important that students in elementary school get hands-on experience with computer science concepts and materials,” said Katherine Livick, instructional technology coordinator at ESD 112. “Our computer science loan and coaching program helps teachers learn to integrate other subject areas with computer science fundamentals. They have a lot on their plates and they need to be able to combine these concepts, rather than adding an extra subject to teach.”

Teachers who participate in the loan program receive free training and assistance with setting up their lessons. Crecia Page noted, “The whole process was fantastic! Students loved working with the robots, and the consulting support from Katherine was flexible and invaluable. It wasn’t scary at all – in fact, it was a lot of fun to see students develop their critical thinking skills and showcase their learning to a wider audience. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking to engage students in a meaningful way.”

For more information about the computer science loan program or computer science and technology coaching at ESD 112, please contact Katherine Livick or learn more about Digital Learning Services.