lego_robotics_intro_parent_letter

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					Dear Parents,

Welcome to Peninsula School District’s newest elective class, Robotics! This course is
designated as part of the district’s Career and Technical Education program. LEGO
Robotics is being offered at all four middle schools. It is intended as an introductory
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) course, emphasizing CTE core
skills such as teamwork, leadership, and design applications using real world
technology.

Throughout the semester students will be integrating math, science, engineering and
technology through hands-on labs and challenges that parallel career skills necessary
for the 21st century. This course develops interpersonal skills through team building,
group presentations, and the need to work together towards a common goal. Your
student will also have frequent opportunities to sharpen their problem solving and
critical thinking skills.

Students will design and build LEGO NXT Robots, learn to program using an icon-
based software, and participate in classroom challenges. Students will create an
engineering notebook to keep track of their designs and solutions to Robotics Tasks.
Students will also learn about the exciting applications of math and science in current
technology, future educational endeavors, and high-tech careers.

I feel very fortunate to have a wide background in Programming and Robotics. I have
taught LEGO Robotics at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and
Stanford for 4th-8th graders in Enrichment Summer Programs. I have attended
workshops and trainings in Robotics at the Oregon Museum of Science and OR-TOP.
My coaching experiences for LEGO Robotics included taking students to regional
competitions multiple years and taking one qualified team who won the Young Division
trophy onto State. My passions for technology, hands-on learning, divergent thinking,
and integrating math and science for real world problem solving are all combined in this
course.

LEGO Robotics can be a great deal of fun but it does require students to stay
organized in their Engineering Notebooks, collaborate with teammates, and face tasks
in both designing and programming that may be outside their comfort zones. I hope
each student looks forward to tackling the classroom challenges and that they can
embrace the fact that there are often 5-10 ways to accomplish a task instead of just
one right answer. Ayn Grubb, an instructor with the College Board, said a quote I find
very applicable to LEGO Robotics when she remarked “The learning happens in the
struggle.”


                                                                       With enthusiasm,


                                                                            Joy Giovanini
                                                                  giovaninij@psd401.net
                                       LEGO Robotics
                                  Kopachuck Middle School
                                      Course Syllabus
                            Joy Giovanini – giovaninij@psd401.net

    LEGO Robotics is a project-based class utilizing a common childhood building material
    with computer programming to create remote control-free robots. Most work will be
    accomplished in teams during class time but occasionally students will be expected to
    complete work outside of class. Students will not work in isolation and will be expected
    to work in a variety of group situations to solve problems and complete assigned tasks.
    We will be using rubrics often for grading and utilizing the district grading scale.

    Students will be graded in the following areas:
        Participation and Effort
        Teamwork and Cooperation
        Design and Programming skills
        Research, Engineering Notebook, and Presentations

    Classroom Expectations

    Obey all school rules
    Finish all assignments on time
    Seek help (from teacher, parent, notes, etc) when confused
    Come to class prepared with all supplies and completed work
    Treat everyone with respect and work cooperatively in a group
    Participate in class discussions and activities

    Supplies

    Although the school district has purchased all of the software and building materials for
    this course, there are additional supplies needed.

    2-Pocket folder with center brads
    5 Dividers with tabs for folder
    Loose leaf graph paper (3-hole punched)
    Pencil pouch with colored pencils
    Adequate supply of lined college ruled notebook paper
    Adequate supply of #2 pencils (Mechanical pencils or traditional)
    Enclosed pencil sharpener if not mechanical pencils

    Other helpful but not required supplies:

    Composition Notebook with graphing paper
    Ream of white printer paper
    Pack of AA batteries for backups for the Robots
    USB Flashdrive to backup programs
                                           KopaTime
                                    Kopachuck Middle School
                                        Course Syllabus
                             Joy Giovanini – giovaninij@psd401.net
                              Bill Durham – durhamw@psd401.net

    KopaTime will be a literacy enrichment opportunity. The class will meet daily but the
    class components may vary widely based on the weekly or monthly focus. A typical
    class period (45 minutes most days) might include a fluency exercise, student
    journaling about a current event, a group oriented discussion about a recent reading,
    and a vocabulary enrichment activity. We anticipate KopaTine will provide a
    challenging and exciting opportunity for students to sharpen their skills and collaborate
    with their peers in a variety of Language Arts-focused activities.

    The majority of all work will be completed during our class period but a few of the
    activities (Vocabulary Cartoons, Socratic Debate, and Literature Circles for example)
    can definitely be enhanced with work outside of school. It is not our intention to bog
    students down with additional homework for a Pass/Fail graded class but we also do
    not want to limit their creativity and influence through time constraints in class. Student
    participation through writing, reading in class assignments, and contributing to class
    discussions is essential for the most engaging experience.

    Classroom Expectations

    Obey all school rules
    Seek help (from teacher, parent, notes, etc) when confused or unsure
    Come to class prepared with all supplies
    Treat everyone with respect and work cooperatively in a group
    Finish all assignments on time
    Participate in class discussions and activities

    Supplies

    Your child most likely has all of the supplies that they will need for KopaTime but just to
    be sure here is a list of the supplies needed for our class.

    Composition Notebook
    Pencil pouch with colored pencils
    Highlighter
    Adequate supply of lined college ruled notebook paper
    Adequate supply of #2 pencils (Mechanical pencils or traditional)
    Enclosed pencil sharpener if not mechanical pencils

    Other helpful but not required supplies:

    Electronic or paper dictionary
    USB flashdrive

				
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posted:4/14/2011
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