In 2016, The Virginia General Assembly approved a new set of standards for The Profile of a Virginia Graduate. These new standards describe the knowledge, skills, experiences and attributes that students must attain to be “life ready” and to achieve success in college and/or the workforce. The new profile not only places emphasis on academic knowledge but also puts an emphasis on CTE enrollment. As school districts, administrators, and teachers, we must question how we might offer more exposure to CTE and increase student interest and enrollment in these types of courses. The answer – Technology Field Day!
Remember Field Day when you were a kid? The excitement was contagious! Now, imagine adding: Ozobots, Spheros, MineCraft Coding, Engineering Challenges and even a MakerSpace, and you have instantly increased student interest and engagement! Students get so excited to explore and learn with these devices!
Last year, high school students learned how to use Ozobots, Spheros, MineCraft Coding, 3d Printers and Laser Cutters in their CTE courses, and worked in groups to create instructional lessons for elementary students using these tools. High school students spent a day at each elementary school walking fifth grade students through these activities. Fifth graders had five stations that they rotated through on Technology Field Day.
- MineCraft Coding – Students worked in pairs to code their way through the game. The game emphasized math and communication skills and critical thinking.
- Spheros – Students were challenged to program Spheros through amaze, shaped as the number four. They had to use their knowledge of angles to make it to the end! They also had the opportunity to race their robot to the end of a miniature golf type course that was built by high school woodshop students.
- Engineering Design Challenge – Students were challenged to build a race car, which they raced through the halls for the fastest time. Students had to practice communication and critical thinking skills, as they raced to build the fastest car!
- MakerSpace – Students were challenged to piece together a laser cut puzzle, press a rally towel, and learn what 3d Printing is and how it is used in the real world. Te MakerSpace station was complete with a 3D Printer, vinyl heat press and laser cutter. Students also completed their “Passport,” an extension booklet used to reflect on the activity and what they had learned.
- Ozobots – Students were challenged to complete a maze, in the fastest time, using color codes.
At the end, classes were presented with awards, and students walked away with their Hour of Code certificate, a self-designed race car, 3D printed eraser cap, a self-created rally towel, a Tech Field Day medal, and an unforgettable experience! Their feedback from the day included quotes such as; “I can’t wait to go to middle and high school.” “It sounds exciting, and I want to learn new things and it was the best day ever.” “It might of been even more fun than Field Day, which showcased just what an unforgettable experience this was for students!” It was engaging and sparked excitement. It challenged them creatively and made them think critically. It was truly a day of innovative learning that helped to create “life ready” students ready to meet the new standards of The Profile of a VA Graduate.
Chrissy Carr is an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher with Prince George County Public Schools. She has been an ITRT for five years and is currently stationed at William A. Walton Elementary School. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. You can follow her on Twitter @pg_CarrITRT and follow her blog wiredatwalton.wordpress.com.