Issue 19 of the free magazine Hello World, written by and for the computing education community. Focuses on the interaction between sustainability and computing. From how we can interact with technology responsibly, to its potential to mitigate climate change.
Real-life problem solving
The prospect of developing your own unit of work from scratch can feel very daunting. With the number of free resources available, it begs the question, why do it? Firstly, it gives you the opportunity to deliver computing that is interwoven with the rest of your curriculum. It also naturally lends itself to a constructionist approach to learning through meaningful engagement with real-world problem-solving. In this article, I am going to share my experience of developing a ten-lesson unit of physical computing for students aged nine to ten that is linked to the more general topic of the environment.
To engage children in the process of problem-solving, it is important that the problem is presented as a real and meaningful one. To introduce the topic of the environment, we showed pupils a video of the Panama Canal. Including information about the staggering amount of CO2 that is saved by ships taking this route instead of the alternative. Longer routes that use more fuel. However, we explained that because of the special geographical features, a moving bridge needed to be constructed over the canal. The students’ challenge was first to design a solution to the problem, and then to make a working model.