New Materialities and Maker Paradigms in Schools
Field Notes (Robots)
For the third graders seated on the rug in their bright, fourth-floor science classroom, the challenge is to make a robot that can kick or pull or push a small bouncy ball a distance of four feet. Grace explains the only constraint: You can’t add any extra parts to your Lego robotics kits, and you have to use the motor. One girl says “Easy,” and another replies, “Of course,” and then Grace tells them that they’ll have today’s class for planning and sketching, and tomorrow’s for building and sharing.
“Let’s talk about motors,” Amber, her co-teacher, says. Seated at the whiteboard with large, colorful markers, she asks the girls what they already know about motors—how they spin, start, and stop. Hands go up immediately, and she calls on a student in the middle of the rug.
“Well, there’s this thing that you attach to the motor…?”
“Yes,” Amber says, “That’s a gear. That’s a good tool, and you might use a gear. Also, think about your leg when you kick a soccer ball. What does your leg do?”
“Oh, it goes forward!”
“Yes, but first it has to go backwards, right?” On the whiteboard, Amber sketches a stick figure with directional arrows animating its leg. From the rug come oohs of recognition and then excited whispers as the girls start sharing ← 25 | 26 → ideas about kicking, bouncy balls, and motors. One pair says they want to make...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.