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Kent State University at Stark Professor Coordinates Hoover Initiative on the Environment

Puzzles intrigue Associate Professor of Biological Sciences Penny Bernstein, Ph.D. Whether they are presented in a colorful box, in the natural world or as part of her work, her first inclination is to look carefully for patterns that lead to a solution.

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Elementary Students Learn Science and Technology with LEGO®

Posted June 25, 2012

Kindergarten students Simon (left), age 6, and Aiden (right), age 5, built a LEGO® WeDo™ airplane with a moving propeller in Nancy Condit’s class at Kent State University’s Child Development Center.

LEGO and other technology summer camp dates set

Knowing that young children are natural engineers, fascinated with how things work and with building and taking things apart, led the Research Center for Educational Technology (RCET) staff at Kent State University to adopt the LEGO® WeDo™ Robotics system to help promote elementary content standards for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning.

The project, funded by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation in Cleveland, helps support local, grade- K-5 teachers to design curriculum that uses the robotics system to introduce young children to the engineering design process. The WeDo set contains blocks, working motors, sensors and a computer software program to run constructed models, which can range from dancing birds to a hungry alligator to a soccer goal kicker.

To date, four local schools have participated in the STEM learning project, including Kent State’s Child Development Center (kindergarten), Akron Public Schools (4th and 5th grades), Kent City Schools (1st and 3rd grades) and Stow-Munroe Falls City Schools (1st grade).

“The outcome of this project will provide much-needed classroom-tested examples of how a variety of educational technologies can effectively create opportunities for deep learning of STEM content, and equally as important, how such tools can be used to build children’s capacity for using critical-thinking and problem-solving skills within the context of rigorous content,” says Annette Kratcoski, RCET’s educational researcher.

RCET will run a LEGO WeDo camp for children in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades from July 10-13. To learn more about this camp and other RCET camps for elementary students, such as digital storytelling, video production and game development, contact Mary Stith at 330-672-5995 or mstith@kent.edu.