This curriculum suggests the introduction and use of programmable robotic constructions in secondary school education aiming at changing students’ attitude towards science.
b) Teachers Guide
c) Worksheets ( mission’s description)
d) Questionnaires for evaluation (pre, post)
The theoretical background of the methodology is learning by inquiry and the tool that is going to be used is Lego Mindstorms Ev3, which offers a great variety of constructing and programming potentials.
This curriculum implements a thirty-hour (30) robotics program in the first grade of secondary school Κ7 (12-13 yrs. students).
Questionnaires will be given to them to examine their attitude towards STEM before the program take place (pretest) and after the program ends (posttest). Students will be divided into groups of four with clear, but different roles each time (coordinator, manufacturer, developer, etc.). The division will made by us in order to have, students with different grades in science, different attitudes towards science, different genders etc. in the same team.
Mission oriented approach:
We mentioned earlier that this is a thirty-hour program. In these thirty hours, the teams have to accomplish specific “missions”. The scenario of the “missions” is that NASA has ordered you (the students) to build a rover that they need to send to a new planet that they have discovered. The rover must be fully programed to act “by its own will” and can’t be remote controlled. The “missions” guide the students to set the rover to fulfill its purpose, explore the planet. In order to do so, the rover must be capable of avoiding objects (using its sensors). During this procedure the students learn things about physics (velocity, force, friction, reflection of light e.tc), learn things about math (unit’s conversion, angles e.tc.) and acquire scientific skills (carry out measurements, draw graphs, problem solving). These “missions” will be assigned to each team through students’ worksheets. The teams use the worksheets to follow some guidelines and keep some notes. Through this procedure they come across some problems that they have to overcome on their own. Of course these worksheets include some instructions given by us but as the program is progressing, less instruction is given. This is our way of making them inquire and not just follow instructions.
The programming of the robot is carried out by Lego Mindstorms software. The software is easy for the children to understand and use as it works with pictures. They don’t need to know a programming language and so they can focus on understanding the nature of programming and not wasting time in trying to learn the language.