Star Class: Learn with technology

Published 8:00 pm Friday, January 21, 2022

Hawthorne and Halverson’s second and third graders are in their second year of a Universal+ grant from the Minnesota Department of Education. As you can see from the picture in Mrs. Staci Wangen’s third-grade class, the purpose of this grant is to bring more computer science opportunities to our students. We wanted to share with you some of what our students will be experiencing:

Scratch: Our students are learning how to use the computer coding and programming language of Scratch. Through Scratch, they can create stories, games and animations on the computer. This year we will introduce third graders to Makey-makeys, electronic invention kits, to extend their understanding of the coding language and concepts in Scratch. According to the Scratch website, “Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.” For more information about Scratch, please visit scratch.mit.edu 

Computer interest and aptitude: Students took a survey at the beginning of the school year to let us know how they feel about using computers. We will see if their interest level has changed by the end of the year after they have used Scratch throughout the year.

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CogAT testing: Students took the CogAT test, which is a multiple choice test that measures reasoning skills in these areas: verbal, quantitative and nonverbal. No preparation is required prior to the test. Teachers are able to use the results to help guide learning activities for the students and focus on areas of strength, while building on areas of weakness. 

New technology: Our school is able to use funds from the grant to bring more technology to our students. We have purchased BenQ and Newline boards, which are interactive boards. We have purchased more MakerSpace items which allow students to be creative with technology.