about our stem program
From the Ministry of Education document “21st Century Competencies”, some big ideas that support the role of 21st century learning in education include:
1. Harnessing the capacity of technology to engage learners and optimize student learning and achievement,
2. Emphasize and teach higher-order learning skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.
In order to promote critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity at CCS, we set out to teach higher-order skills through the use of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Through individual and group instruction, we engage students in projects where they must complete challenges collaboratively, using communication and critical thinking through the use of coding, robotics and building challenges.
21st century competencies
STEM program highlights
Joy, the ipal robot
In partnership with Grandview Kids, we welcome Joy to our school. Joy is an iPal robot and is a big hit with our students, staff and visitors. Joy is a companion robot which is often used in school, hospitals, libraries and senior centres to provide a companion or friend to its users. Joy is a great entertainer and will sing, dance, tell stories and play games. Students also use the “iPal Programmer” application to code iPal. Students can use block coding to show Joy where to go or have it say phrases.
In partnership with the AI Hub at Durham college we have also developed a Grandview Kids app which visitors can use to learn helpful information such as upcoming dates, information about Grandview as well as our visitor wifi password.
Milo, robot for autism
In collaboration with Grandview Kids, we welcome Milo to our school! Milo is an extremely expressive robot which assists or students and clients with ASD. Milo has many motors in his which allows him to exhibit a wide range of emotions and facial features. The student is presented with a social situation on the iPad which is synced with Milo. The student will then be prompted to choose an appropriate emotional response to the situation. Milo assists with the lesson by demonstrating the correct emotion and modeling for the student. Milo’s program has been a really positive experience for the development of self regulation skills in many of our students.
cody, the code-a-pillar
Code is a language which is used in computer programming. Code is what makes it possible for us to create apps, websites, and computer programs. Teaching coding allows students to problem solve, breaking down a problem into simpler steps to achieve an end result. The code-a-pillar is an excellent way to introduce coding to students. The goal for students is to input a sequence of commands (forward, backward, left, and right) to help code-a-pillar achieve his goal to make it from the green disk to the red disk.
The code-a-pillar is the perfect way to introduce coding with only a few basic commands and its USB segments that easily click together. After exploring and learning the basic commands, students were challenged to make a maze with blocks for “Cody” to navigate as well as a tower for “Cody” to knock down.
Code a friend
Although coding using electronics and robots is engaging for students, there is also great value in providing screen free opportunities as well. One student pretended to be the robot and the other was the programmer. We used the “Let’s Go Code!” activity set to do some physical coding and engaged our whole bodies. Students used the commands they used with the code-a-pillar (left, right, forward, backward) with the addition of some new commands, such as jump and pick up. We found the individual tiles with this set very beneficial for showing student what one step looks like.
Using the “Robot Mouse” combines the directional skills we learned with the code-a-pillar with the one step at a time sequencing skills we used with the code a friend activity. During this activity, partners challenged each other to complete a maze. One student created a maze, while the other attempted to program the mouse to navigate the maze to get to the cheese. We started with just a few tiles and gradually built on to increase the difficulty by adding more tiles, walls and tunnels.
The Awbie app allows students to take an adventure in coding, Awbie’s house is blown down and students must navigate his world to collect pieces to rebuild his home. Students slide command pieces (walk, grab, jump) along with a number to navigate Awbie’s world. Attached to the camera is a red device which recognizes what pieces the child has chosen and allow Awbie to move. This is a great game which combines manipulatives with an iPad and allows students to engage in new and interesting ways.
The use of tablets is sometimes regarded as having an adverse affect on a child’s fine motor skills, such as printing skills. But what if we can use technology to motivate and enhance a child’s fine motor skills? We were fortunate to receive a donation of a Smart Sketcher drawing projector. This is a miniature projector which walks students step-by-step through the process of drawing different pictures. Here we see a student carefully and independently drawing a dolphin.
At CCS we invested in a product called OSMO for each classroom which allows a child to interact with an iPad in unique ways. The app pictured here is called OSMO Monster. Mo the Monster walks students through a story of their choosing and the student plays an important role in the story. The student must be the illustrator, anything the students draws on a whiteboard in front of the iPad is pulled in by Mo and used as an illustration, so cool!
Snap circuits fit easily together and a specific sequence must be followed in order for the circuit to work. The snap circuit kit comes with clearly labelled diagrams and pieces and students need to follow the numbers on the diagram to make the circuit work. We started out by only giving the students the pieces they need as there are 300 pieces in the kit. The ages on this kit are 8-108 but with the proper guidance and set up a lot of our kindergarten students had no problem putting them together.
We tried out a product called squishy circuits. After spending exploring how electricity travels through wires, students were amazed to find out that play dough can also act as a conductor! Students can build something using play dough, connect the battery pack, insert lights, sound, or a fan and you have yourself a really cool circuit! This activity combines students knowledge of creating a circuit with the ability to use their imagination to bring their creation to life!
The Makey Makey was given to us by a parent to try out with our students. This product allows you to make any object that conducts electricity into a switch or controller. You can then plug it into the computer and play online activities. Pictured is a student cresting a picture by manipulating play dough. The current travels from the computer, into the Makey Makey, through a wire, into the students arm, out of the other arm, into another wire, and then into the appropriate controller on the Makey Makey. Students become their own electrical circuit!