While reviewing Colorado’s new 2020 Science Standards for a workshop, I started noticing an opportunity for my favorite classroom robot, Microbric’s Edison, for fourth grade science, math and STEM courses. If you are not familiar with Edison, here are a few quick videos:
While I use Edison with K-12 learners, I think Edison-based inquiries are a perfect match for Colorado’s 4th Grade 2020 Science Standards, particularly Physical Science. Standards 1 and 3 ask learners to create inquiries and observations around speed, energy and collisions, specifically ‘the faster an object moves the more energy it has.’ With Edison’s 1-10 scale for variable speed, and easy to use remote control interfaces, I could envision learners have a great time crashing these tough little robots through obstacles and down slopes, or across surfaces! With easy Lego-interfacing, adding weight, resistance, or even sails would be a breeze, not to mention using the Sumo-Wrestling and battle-bot bar code activity!
Standard 2, and 4-7, all involve energy storage, transformations and wave-forms. Standard 4, and without too much of a stretch, the Earth Science standard around natural resources and energy, can be addressed when we use rechargeable batteries in the robots! It is a bit more work and an investment, but it saves resources, impacts and money over time!
Edison is also perfect for exploring or demonstrating many of the common energy transformations. From sending and receiving encoded infrared light from remote controls, activating programs with the clap-sensor and sound waves, to the way the EdComm cable transforms computer code into electricity, light, back to electricity, then action, says it all! One of my favorite Teacher PD jokes, we all have a few, is letting the learners listen to the computer “talking” to the robot (which sound like old-school AOL dial-up) and just saying “it brings me back!” The teachers laugh, the learners never get it!
To go further, I could envision teams of learners using the EdCreate kits or Legos to engineer walking-working organisms with Edison robots as part of the 4th Grade Life Science Standard around internal and external structures! It would make for a fun application of the technology and a great way to tie-back to forces and motion content! With the option to use decimals in time variables, particularly when converting distance measurements, and exploring shapes, angles and geometry with activities from the EdScratch Curriculum, Edisons can bring excitement, enthusiasm and technology to your classroom and really put the M in STEM! Again, Edison is my favorite classroom robot for cost, content and applications, but more importantly as a platform for student collaboration, invention and innovation!