At the beginning of the electricity unit, third grade students spent time in enrichment building 2D or 3D robots with a variety of recycled materials. The only guideline was that students be creative, and think about where they might want to later light up the robot! Creativity and imagination was evident as students built robots that had specific jobs (a refrigerator, a generator, and more!), robots that focused on design elements (fabric skirts, hats and hair), robots that resembled something in real life (hamburgers, vacuum cleaners, well known robots), robots that were 3D (some even had wheels that moved!).... just name a few!
Once the robots were created, we put them on a shelf for a while as we deepened our understanding of what electricity is and how it works. Students had opportunities to explore a variety of materials--including squishy circuits, Little Bits and Snap Circuits (exploration started in the enrichment classroom and then extended to maker spaces in each classroom). This exploration was coupled with classroom instruction and electricity labs.
With all of this great learning under their belts, students were ready to go back to their robots and build a circuit that would light them up! Students had to use their learning about electricity to do this task...but at the same time it was fun and creative! I was so happy to see the joy students had in working on an assessment of their knowledge. The assessment was meaningful and important to them, and it also allowed teachers to do a check in on student understanding and clear up any misconceptions or confusions!
For the last two classes, students in third grade enrichment have spent time designing circuits and lighting up robots! Once students had a lighted robot, they created a short video clip using an iPad application called Chatterpix. This is a fun app that can make any picture you take (in this case of their robot) talk with your own voice. Here is a video compilation of the robots sharing their electricity learning and favorite moments from our unit. Enjoy!