A Qualitative Study Exploring Robots as a Potential Teaching Tool for Computational Thinking in a Sixth-Grade Classroom
Carol Munn, New Jersey City University, United States
JCMST Volume 40, Number 3, ISSN 0731-9258 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA
This paper explores Computational Thinking (CT) through the experiences and interactions of sixth-grade students as they were engaging in a science lesson utilizing robotics. This robotics unit institutes the shifting from traditional to engaging hands-on activities coupled with CT skills that are exciting, intriguing, and inviting to students. The constructionist philosophy, hands-on application learning, addresses social skills like collaboration, communication, and teamwork to provide an authentic, real-world learning experience. CT brings to the classroom exciting and innovative activities that infuse robotics with hands-on application platforms in the science and mathematics curriculum, but the education system has missed a core set of young open-minded eager students at the intermediate school level. With today’s vision in education focusing on the 21st-Century learner, CT is emerging as a key component in the skill set necessary for the new generation of learners. CT poses a strong ideology based on problem-solving equally conveying an essential position in cross-curricular classroom activities. This session exposes CT through a study relating experiences and interactions by students when engaging in a science lesson utilizing robots. Focusing on how students engage the CT key concepts of (a) abstraction; (b) decomposition; (c) pattern recognition; and (d) algorithm when participating in robotics activity.
Munn, C. (2021). A Qualitative Study Exploring Robots as a Potential Teaching Tool for Computational Thinking in a Sixth-Grade Classroom. Journal of Computers in Mathematics and Science Teaching, 40(3), 229-264. Waynesville, NC USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE).
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