Hey, remember me? The one behind the screen who has been busy up to my eyeballs as of late (news on what I’ve been up to coming soon!) In the meantime while you wait with bated breath for what is coming next (yes, wait on the edge of your seat, you know you want to!) I come to you with another idea, another tiny spark of creativity that flutters back into my brain. I hope over the next coming months there will be more flutters and sparks again like there used to be. These dumps of the mind are therapeutic to me even on a rough day, I can sit here and type, figuring out the best words to make you sit here and read interested in what is coming next, what do I have to share?
The theme of the day is “Robots”, my current favorite vocabulary word, it just flows right off the tough “Rooooo..bots.” One of the many things in the current realm of educational technology that is categorized under accessible innovations. They have taken the EdTech world by storm and keep finding stronger connections to student learning experiences. I follow a bunch of educational robot toy companies from WonderWorkshop to Sphero and am always in awe of what I see students and teachers doing with them in the classroom. From navigating through mazes to drawing a masterpiece using the bots. The possibilities are becoming endless and crucial for students to experience. In the coming years, coding is going to become a mandatory 21st century skill required for students to have proficiency in to acquire a job when school is over. Coding is like composing and creating music. If you can bring in your new robot friends to the classroom the right way, the experience will be so memorable.
Here is just one idea of many, robot maps are not a new idea but you have a hard time finding any music themed ones. So I’ve made a couple below to go alone with the activity. These are photos you can download and get printed onto larger paper or a material like vinyl or recreate the idea on the floor with masking tape or take a piece of butcher block paper and redraw it on there to place on the floor.
Objective: To compose a piece of music using the notes and rests the programmed robot moves over on the mat.
Essential Question: How is coding the robot to move like composing a piece of music?
- Programmable Robot
- Individual Devices
- Composing App or piece of staff paper and pencil.
- Robot map
Before Class Prep:
- Acquire a couple of programmable robots. Sometimes your technology coach or media specialist might already have a small army of them that you can borrow. It does not need to be one to one robot but having a couple would make it easier.
- Make sure that you have individual devices for students or small groups and they have the necessary programs on there to work with the robots.
- If you would like students to compose on the devices, make sure the composition program you want them to use is on there.
- Create or get the map printed to use. I recommend having a couple maps available! Lay one out on the floor for the start of class.
Pre-Existing Knowledge Requirement: Basic knowledge of meter, notes and rests, and basic composition skills.
- Have students come in and get ready for the lesson. Have the Essential Question on the board for them to start thinking about.
- Give directions for class.
- Each student or small group will take a look at the floor map and will each program the robot through the coding software on the devices.
- Students must program a robot route through the map that will give them enough notes and rests to fill up 4 measures.
- The piece must have 4 measures and include a variety of notes and rests and be in either the meter of 4/4 or 3/4. Students cannot use a note or rest more than once in the composition and must use all of their collected notes and rests. They can use the notes and rests out of order from how they were collected! (or not, up to you!)
- Groups must be able to perform their piece for the class and be able to demonstrate their robot collecting their notes as well.
- Have students break off either by themselves or into groups and hand out materials and devices.
- Ask students to program and plan their robot route first and check in with you before heading to the map to collect their notes and rests.
- While collecting notes and rests, make sure students are writing down every note and rest their robot goes over. (It will be at least 10 notes and rests.)
- Once they have collected their notes and rests have students go off and begin composing. Have them check in with you after composing their piece before they start practicing.
- Make sure students have ample time to practice.
- Once everyone is done, get together and listen to everyone perform their compositions and demonstrate their robot adventure!
Assessment tip: Bring a device and video each student’s performance to use for a portfolio artifact or for a grading rubric after.