Keeping it REAL

Students interact with challenges that address a real-world problem, creating a workable solution and presenting this to an authentic audience.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

LEGO - But not as you know it

LEGO, It's a great toy, and is definitely more than just a children's toy. When LEGO was first established around 1932, the company only had two employees, the company owner along with his twelve year old son. They started making step ladders, ironing boards and wooden toys to sell. They worked alone until 1939, when they started hiring more people, and their first LEGO Factory had ten employees. They went on making wooden toys, for children to play with. It wasn't until 1949 when we saw the plastic LEGO Bricks which we enjoy building with to this day. From then on, the company evolved into a massive success, and continued to make their "Automatic Binding Bricks". To this day, LEGO is used by many adults along with children, and building competitions are held regularly for people of certain ages.

LEGO in the early days
We have all seen the everyday LEGO Bricks, and I am sure (no matter how old you are) you have used them before, whether that be by yourself, or with someone else, LEGO is always fun to use. Back in the day, yes, your creations may have had wheels, or something to allow it to move, but the technology we see today obviously changes this a lot. 1998 was the year that we saw the LEGO "Mindstorms" kits released, and these have evolved a lot after its first release.

Mindstorms is essentially a robot, which you make out of LEGO. Back in 1998, it was essentially a LEGO brick with some plugs and wires, but these days, they can do what ever you want them to do. Today, the main brick can be programmed using your iPad and can do virtually anything you wish it to do.

The LEGO "Mindstorms"
programmable brick
This Term, Grade 7's are working on making a LEGO Mindstorm robot that is helpful for someone/something. Groups have thought of some great ideas of what to make their robot do. Some examples are:
  • Throwing balls for pets
  • Rubbing out whiteboards
  • Using a magnet to pick up small metal objects
  • Delivering drinks/sauce around a table
  • Stirring drinks
  • Alarm clocks
  • Picking objects up (Like a forklift)
And many other groups have had amazing ideas, and have built their robots with a high degree of detail.
It is amazing to see the amount of thought and effort that has been put into this topic by certain groups. It just takes one little idea to change the world, and Integrated Learning is a great starting block for this.

If you would like to see what some groups have been doing, you can check out their comments in the comments section below this post.

Written by:
Liam Eugarde-Grade 7 Integrated Learning Student

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Term 2 - The Big Challenge

Integrated Learning has been a great experience over the past 2 years for me, and starting the subject in Grade 6, made me even more excited about what to expect in Grade 7. Since Grade 6 was the first year iPads were required for us, we found this subject very exciting. I'm sure students would agree, that this subject allows us (as students) to interact with the community in ways we had never thought about before. This has showed in some of the latest Grade 7 projects, and upcoming Grade 6 projects.

First off, lets just focus on the Integrated Learning classroom, and the ways it is used. Thanks to the MYSA conference that Mr Ayling went to last year with some selected students, we now have some awesome whiteboard table tops in the classroom, which allow us to scribble down ideas, but on the tops of tables. Mr Ayling also found some computer monitor type screens that allow us to plug our iPads into them and share our work easily with our group. This year, we also walked into the classroom to see tables with some awesome iMac's on them. These have added a whole new level of excitement to Integrated Learning, and given us endless possibilities with what we can do and add to our projects.

Second of all, collaboration, group work, and large amounts of interaction with community members (Such as council members, and large organisations). Last term for Grade 7's really showed this, as certain groups' park renovation designs were picked to be presented in front of Council Members. Working as a group makes things easier in some respects, but also adds some challenges. Making large projects (especially ones to present to council) does require you to be in a group because doing it by yourself is near to impossible to pull off what you would as a group, since everyone has their own job in the group which makes the project come together a lot quicker.

Now for the big part, Grade 6 and 7's most recent and most successful projects.
Term one for Grade 6 was all about iPads and responsible use. They worked on solving problems brought up by parents. This term, grade 6 is working on how to reduce their community's "carbon footprints". This is basically how much carbon dioxide you produce as you live your life. They could do this in any way they liked. Some groups planted trees in their home or community, other groups raised money for organisations, and some also educated younger students and still more created websites or posters to educate a wider audience. The aim was to explain what "Carbon Footprints" actually are, and how to reduce them.
Grade 7's in Term 1 got to interact a lot with community members. They were asked to pick a park in their local community which then thought needed some "touchups" to improve it. Some designs which were picked especially by the class, were picked to be presented to members of the local Council. Mr Ayling is still in touch with the council members, and they are already taking into consideration some of the proposed renovations. This term, they are working on increasing people's awareness of Jesus and why he came to Earth by using the gospel of Luke in the bible.

Integrated Learning is a very fun subject, and I would definitely recommend it to any school that doesn't have a subject like this.
If you would like to see what type of projects that some of the students groups did, check in the comments made by the students below this post

Written by:
Liam Eugarde-Grade 7 Integrated Learning Student