We're ending our year of DE with the Boe-Bot unit. Practically none of my students have experience with putting together things or with programming, so I'm happy with this unit. I'm not much following the PLTW curriculum due to time constraints and interest, but due to a conversation I had with the kids, we're ALL excited about what direction things took.
Last year I had my kids learn to program and use subroutines and then put them to use in running through a unique maze (one per group). This had varying degrees of success. I could have made it better with having more scaffolding and intermittent grades instead of at the very end. Live and learn.
This year, I mentioned the maze idea to my current students, and then, I don't know who, but we mentioned a group choreographed dance with the 7 Boe-Bots (I'm building one, too). We all suddenly got excited, and I scrapped the maze idea and now we keep joking that we MUST. GO. VIRAL. Isn't that all the rage these days. Are you anything if you're not viral on the Internet at least once? Will our lives mean nothing?
I created a short "dance". There are solos. There's a chorus. There's a "wave". There's an entrance and exit. The students have all done the subroutines (12 of them: move forward 1 tile, move forward one rotation, turn right 90 degrees, pivot...., etc). See what I did there? I learned from last year and made those all a grade with a due date. Go me (for now). Now on Tuesday we will code up the choreography and work out the bugs and video tape (is that even the term anymore?) and Hello Bacteria or Virus. Here we come.