Constructionism provides a framework for hands-on and creative ways for students to design, experiment, build and invent as they deeply engage in math, science and engineering. Grade 4 students at Saigon South International School have been learning about engineering, design and programming within a fully integrated unit called “Thinking Outside the Box”, focused on coding for a purpose, energy and service-based learning.
Creativity, innovation, and problem solving were woven into the literary genre of Fantasy and the topic of Energy. Coding, making and physical computing paved the way for endless inquiry and cross-curricular integration. We began to look at coding as a form of literacy, used our MakerSpace, and introduced our students to the engineering and design cycle. We completed the unit with a service based project. The goal was for students to investigate where energy was wasted in their lives, show the energy impact, and design and build a prototype by combining craft materials, electronic components and programming interfaces, to help them reduce energy waste.
This unit was really about being innovative and “thinking outside the box’- looking at problems and empowering students to believe that with hard work, they can find solutions.
Students learned how computer languages provide an open canvas for creativity that, through the use of sensors, motors and lights, can empower students to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital world and make the world a better place.