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Crafting for the Future - Grade 6 Uses Coding to Bring Models to Life

Crafting for the Future - Grade 6 Uses Coding to Bring Models to Life
Tanya Olander

In Future Crafters, Grade 6 students have been igniting their creativity with hands-on coding and modeling using components from robotics kits, diodes, and cardboard.

Developing a Sense of Self as creators capable of tackling unfamiliar challenges, grade 6 students in the Middle School Exploratory Elective Future Crafters are learning practical coding, electronics, and problem-solving skills while they solve project-based STEAM challenges. No two projects are alike, as each student's creation reflects their personal interests and growing knowledge.

Joyful Learning

“Our students never cease to amaze me with their creativity and craftsmanship,” says teacher Lan Pham. “We continuously engage and challenge them to discover their full potential, ensuring that every lesson is a step towards learning, playing, and innovating in their unique way.”

Ms. Pham helps a student troubleshoot the code she’s written for the processor that will go into her model.

In her former career in a fast-paced, technology-driven Silicon Valley environment, it was the instructional design aspect Ms. Pham enjoyed most, which is evident when watching her guide students in troubleshooting their code. She makes complex concepts become exciting opportunities for growth.

Successful projects begin with a good plan. Students draw their ideas to think through where they will place their LEDs to illuminate their model and bring it to life.

A Good Plan is the Best Start

As the class of focused young creators goes on to build their models from the diagrams they’ve created, they discover what works and what doesn’t. Conversations flow as students exchange ideas and problem-solve issues

For one student, two buttons lie at the heart of the creation. They control an LED light, spinning fan, and buzzer. Another student is designing a rectangular model with exterior lights that turn on and off at intervals to recreate warning beacons that he’s seen on buildings in the neighborhood.

A student puts the finishing touches on her 3D project.

Demonstrating Understanding

The class increases in complexity and after creating 2D models, students move on to create 3D models as their final project. “Look, here,” says Ian (cover image) as he tips the 3D model of his boat back and forth, showing how the motion-sensor-powered rudder moves and how the LEDs illuminate. Sharing the project's original diagram, he patiently walks through each step of the process, effortlessly demonstrating an understanding of his learning. 

There seems to be no end to the ingenuity and curiosity of this new generation of creators. Who knows what these budding engineers and innovators of  Future Crafters will come up with as they continue to unlock new talents through hands-on challenges? The future is theirs to code!

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