Technology Focus: In this Classroom Catalyst, you will be learning how to utilize the Scratch Junior App to create a digital science journal entry and/or scientific explanation for Primary students.
Description: Scratch Jr is an introductory programming language that enables primary students to create their own interactive stories and games through coding. It is a developmentally appropriate interface for younger students that does not require reading and promotes problem solving. Students connect visual programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and add backgrounds. Students can modify characters, add their own voices and sounds, as well as insert photos to create authentic explanations, stories and animations.
To utilize this technology, a basic level of technical knowledge is required. All students and educators using this tool will require a tablet and/or iPad with the app installed.
*Check with your school district for app installation procedures on school devices.
Audience: This catalyst is targeted towards Primary Grades (K-3); however, Scratch Junior can be used in Junior Classrooms (4-6) and it is applicable to all disciplines of Science and Technology.
Tool Highlights: This catalyst will highlight the use of the Scratch Junior app to create scientific explanations, stories and animations with Primary students using iPads.
Kindergarten - Problem Solving and Innovation
13.2 make predictions and observations before and during investigations
13.4 communicate results and findings from individual and group investigations 14.1 ask questions about and describe some natural occurrences, using their own observations and representations
Grade 1 - Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
2. investigate needs and characteristics of plants and animals, including humans; 3. demonstrate an understanding of the basic needs and characteristics of plants and animals, including humans.
2.3 investigate and compare the physical characteristics of a variety of plants and animals, including humans
2.4 investigate the physical characteristics of plants
2.7 use a variety of forms (e.g., oral, written, graphic, multimedia) to communicate with different audiences and for a variety of purposes
3.2 identify the physical characteristics (e.g., size, shape, colour, common parts) of a variety of plants and animals
3.6 identify what living things provide for other living things
Grade 2 - Growth and Changes in Animals
2. investigate similarities and differences in the characteristics of various animals; 3. demonstrate an understanding that animals grow and change and have distinct characteristics.
2.2 observe and compare the physical characteristics (e.g., fur or feathers; two legs or no legs) and the behavioural characteristics (e.g., predator or prey) of a variety of animals, including insects, using student-generated questions and a variety of methods and resources
3.1 identify and describe major physical characteristics of different types of animals
3.2 describe an adaptation as a characteristic body part, shape, or behaviour that helps a plant or animal survive in its environment
3.3 identify ways in which animals are helpful to, and ways in which they meet the needs of, living things, including humans, to explain why humans should protect animals and the places where they live
Grade 3: Growth and Changes in Plants
3. demonstrate an understanding that plants grow and change and have distinct characteristics.
3.2 identify the major parts of plants, including root, stem, flower, stamen, pistil, leaf, seed, and fruit, and describe how each contributes to the plant’s survival within the plant’s environment
3.3 describe the changes that different plants undergo in their life cycles
3.6 describe ways in which plants and animals depend on each other
Prior Skill Set:
Students should be able to use an iPad, open the Scratch Jr. app and take photographs using the iPads independently.
Students will learn about the pollination of plants, as well as which insects and/or animals are considered pollinators. Students will capture images of plants and pollinators (if possible) during a class nature walk in the schoolyard or community using iPads. Please note that it is best for students to add images through the Scratch Jr. app using the paint editor tool if they would like to use real images for their project instead of the clip art flowers and/or pollinators in the Scratch Jr. character library. Teachers will have to pair students or place them in groups of 2, 3 or 4 (max), depending on how many iPads are available. When students return to the classroom, they will conduct further research on pollinators and open the Scratch Jr. App to create a story, explanation and/or animation to explain how pollinators pollinate flowers. Each student will import 2 images/characters into their project. One image/character should be a flower, the other should be an example of a pollinator. Students can either use the images gathered during the nature walk or select clip art from the characters library in Scratch Jr. Students will then use the visual block codes to program the pollinator to pollinate the flower, as well as use the voice record feature to explain how the pollinator pollinates the flowers.
Steps (Inquiry on Plants and Pollinators to be conducted over the span of 3 - 4 weeks):
*You will need to check with your school district for app installation procedures on school devices.
Video Tutorial: (Still under construction)
Impact on Student Learning; Allowing students to gather images, and use a coding program to learn more about plants and pollinators using iPads allows them to build their digital fluency and develop their 21st century learning skills, as well as redefine how technology is used in the classroom (SAMR). Some of the key skills students will acquire through this inquiry: Taking photos, making observations, following directions, analysis, collaboration, making connections, communication, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Global Competency Development through coding:
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving:
For Learning: Gather students for a whole group discussion. Possible questions to ask: What is pollination? Why is pollination important? What insects and/or animals are considered pollinators? Record student statements. Digital option: Google Keep, docAppender extension.
As Learning: Take anecdotal observations of student conversations and statements during class nature walk. Educators can use Google Keep, Google extension: docAppender and/or photographs to document student learning. For Grade 1 - 3 - teachers and students can co-create success criteria and learning goals so that students can monitor learning and progress that is being made.
Of Learning: Review student stories, explanations and/or animations created using Scratch Jr, grade, provide feedback and return to students in a timely manner, as well as review all anecdotal documentation on students learning and growth.
If a nature walk is not possible, teachers can ask students to search for photos of plants and pollinators.
Students can be paired or grouped together to work on the project if there is a limited amount of iPads/tablets available. This would also benefit students who are not as familiar with using iPads/tablets and/or Scratch Jr.
Teachers can print and laminate Scratch Jr. blocks and have students engage in unplugged coding activities with the blocks to familiarize students with the program (see support resources)
Students can select more that one type of pollinator and explain how that pollinator pollinates flowers.
Students can compare and contrast how different pollinators pollinate flowers.
Create a floor mat with different flowers, have students use Bee-bot and code the robot to travel to as many different flowers as possible.
*Bee-bot is a programmable robot developed for preschool and primary students. It is an excellent starting point for teaching control, directional language and programming. See video for more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgERI8DFK_8
Have students use LEGO WeDo to design a bee and use the sensors and motors to make it move and/or respond in some way (i.e. move wings or head), then have students write about what makes the bee an effective pollinator.
Build a vibrobot pollinator using motors, wires, pipe cleaners, batteries, cork, foam core/board, cardboard, pool noodle. Create a floor mat using a large sheet of paper, markers/crayons to draw flowers, paint for flower stamen and paint for the flower stamen for the vibrobot to spread the pollen. Example video: https://drive.google.com/file/d/13x15RcqoWS56gF1c_EqYyj-G0MJk_-2G/view?usp=sharing
Edugains.ca. (n.d.). About Innovation in Learning in Ontario. [online] Available at: http://www.edugains.ca/newsite/21stCenturyLearning/about_learning_in_ontario.html [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
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Candace M (2013). SAMR in 120 Seconds. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us0w823KY0g [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
Canadian Classroom. (2015). What is Bee-Bot? [Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgERI8DFK_8&disable_polymer=true [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
Earth Rangers (2014). Why Do We Need Bees?. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CxCTyxRFh0&feature=youtu.be [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
Homeschool Pop (2017). Pollination for Kids | Flower Learning Video. [video] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUPzbTuJlgc [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
Pickens, A. and Millius, A. (2018). Pollination | SEP LESSONS. [online] Seplessons.org. Available at: http://www.seplessons.org/node/799 [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
Discoveryeducation.com. (n.d.). Pollination Parties! | Free Lesson Plans | Teachers. [online] Available at: http://www.discoveryeducation.com/teachers/free-lesson-plans/pollination-parties.cfm [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].
Scratchjr.org. (n.d.). Scratch - Home. [online] Available at: https://www.scratchjr.org/ [Accessed 26 Jul. 2018].