Tech Enrichment at Old Orchard
In addition to the technology basics that are essential to student success, our students also get the opportunity to explore the more fun and creative side of technology through creating programs, designing robots, and learning how to think through problems in a methodical, solution-oriented way.
Grades K-5 take regular Tech classes where they learn to think creatively, reason systematically, work collaboratively and stay persistent in the face of difficulty. Beyond basic computer usage skills, students build programming, investigation and critical thinking skills by exploring computational concepts (e.g. algorithms, sequence, loops, conditionals and operators) as well as engineering design concepts (e.g. experimenting, iterating, testing, debugging, reusing and remixing, abstracting and modularizing). Resources used across the grades include: ScratchJr, Scratch, Tynker, Xcode-Apple Swift Playgrounds and Code Monkey.
In fourth and fifth grade, interested students can also incorporate technology (including game design) into their LEAP or science projects.
At the Upper School, students may choose a technology class for enrichment. Enrichment classes allow students to explore, create, and build with technology and learn real skills that they can apply outside the classroom. Frequent offerings include classes in robotics, coding, and 3D modeling; see below for recent full course descriptions. Classes change frequently with student interest and technological development.
Selected Upper School Course Descriptions
EV3 Robotics: In this course, students new to robotics and programming will begin with an introduction to programming and program structure/design skills using our new Lego EV3 robotic kits and object-oriented beginner-level programming software on their iPad. Returning students will dive right in with more advanced EV3 programing tools and projects, with more advanced blocks such as flow/logic blocks, data operations block, arrays, and variables. All students will tackle mechanical design challenges as they complete progressively more difficult challenges – and, of course, engage in friendly in-class competition including BattleBots.
3D Modeling and Printing: Students learn about 3D printing by doing. Starting literally from scratch, they will team up and build a basic 3D printer, learning what makes these marvels tick from the inside and out. With their printer ready to go, they will move on to 3D design, starting with graph paper and pencil, and then moving on to 3D design and modeling software, such as Tinkercad, Tinkerplay, and Makerbot. (More advanced students will use intermediate programs such as 123D Design and Google’s Sketchup and Blender.) The focus of their first project will draw on MinecraftEdu, a classroom-friendly remix of the hit game, students will work together in virtual realm designing and creating 3D models related to the game. Through deconstruction, hands-on testing, and modeling, students will learn how 3D objects are designed and created, and about concepts like coordinate planes, perimeter and volume. It will all come together when we print, allowing students to see how 3D printers work, the materials required, and the inherent limitations and possibilities. Time allowing, for their final project students will select an everyday useful object and make a replica of it. It may be as simple as a holiday ornament, a missing chess piece from a game set to a replacement of a broken Lego piece.
Circuits and Electronics with Raspberry Pi & Arduino: Dive into the electrifying world of circuitry. Learn the fundamentals of electrical engineering, decipher schematic diagrams and build working circuits. Harness your creativity as you dismantle computer parts and assemble wire breadboards and master electronic prototyping. Learn the ins and outs of a microcontrollers by programming sensors and wireless devices. Build simple machines that can synchronize music to Christmas lights to building a Linux Server for home automation. Make a variety of cool projects using Raspberry Pi or Arduino. You'll learn how Pi or Arduino works, how to work with Raspbian Linux on the Pi or Arduino programming software, and how to design and create electronic circuits, wearable sensors, and wireless devices. Learn how to program your creations with programming languages like Scratch, Java and Python. And lastly, learn the process of circuit board design and manufacturing. How flow soldering works and learn to solder for prototyping and rework. The class will visit at least one major circuit board manufacture.
Web Design: Can you think of any company that does not have a web presence? Or any teen not having a social media presence? Students working individually and in teams will plan, design, and create a web or blog site. They will then use this site to showcase their web projects. The optimal way for students to learn basic web design skills is to learn how to hand-code valid HTML and CSS, without the use of advanced tools such as Dreamweaver, or WordPress. Returning students or students who can show knowledge of general HTML and CSS may use a GUI web design program. When students graduate and take jobs in digital content creation or any job that involves digital media, the knowledge of how data is structured on the web and the skill to modify it becomes invaluable.
Personal Path Coding: We hear a lot about coding, programming languages and ... well, we kinda know they make the internet tick. But what does coding really do? How do you get started? If you have a little Python or Java under your belt, where do you go next? In this class, using a wide variety of online resources, students will have the opportunity to dip their toes into coding, or to dive in head first. Mr. Casey will start by asking each student what he/she knows about coding, and where he/she would like to go. Beginners will start on an introductory path, working on basics and building blocs. More advanced students will develop a learning plan and goals, and then chase them as far as they can with teacher guidance. All students will have an opportunity to share their work at the end of the course.