This school year I began teaching “technology” in Bellingham, Washington. Technology is such a broadly used term (often as a synonym for “computers”) that the job seemed quite open ended initially. And that has been good for the program.
In the first semester I adopted the previous curriculum: 6th grade – media, 7th grade – coding intro (programming), 8th grade – Lego robots. This was functional, but over the course of the semester I learned that students do not take these courses in sequence. This means that a students taking “Robots” in grade 8 for the first time may have no coding experience – and a large part of Robots is the programming! In addition, while “coding” is part of grade 7 curriculum the kinesthetic learning aptitude of most of my students was not a good fit for sitting in front of a screen; they needed to use their bodies and DO things.
So in semester two I am making all my courses more heterogenous. All the sections are getting to do 3D design and printing; all will be introduced to coding; then in the third part of the course we will branch out: 6th to do media like stop animation and podcasting; 7th to make functional machines (like trebuchets to complement their study of machines in science and medieval history in social studies and 8th to build Lego robots and have fun competing in Sumo wrestling.
Stay tuned as this all unfolds! It is a group of great kids (that is growing weekly as I get transfers into the course).