This post is sponsored by Wonder Workshop
In the past few years we’ve seen growing emphasis on STEM education and rightfully so. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “over 800,000 new STEM jobs were added to the U.S. economy” between May 2009 and May 2015.”
“Computer occupations made up nearly 45 percent of STEM employment, and engineers made up an additional 19 percent. Mathematical science occupations and architects, surveyors, and cartographers combined made up less than 4 percent of STEM employment.”
As parents, we know STEM jobs represent a growing field of employment. We recognize the abundant opportunities for students who pursue STEM fields. The challenge is in creating opportunities, developing and maintaining interests in middle schoolers whose interest in STEM subjects wanes as they get older, and providing proper support to those most interested in STEM.
As a former elementary school technology magnet coordinator and parent who advocates STEM education, I also understand the challenge that our schools face in introducing, engaging, and involving today’s students in meaningful STEM learning. It’s important to provide hands-on learning to foster computer literacy skills but shrinking school budgets, lack of teacher professional development, and time during the school day can prevent educators from preparing our kids for the jobs of tomorrow.
There’s no shortage of STEM products that aim to teach kids computer literacy skills but I’ve always been impressed with Wonder Workshop’s Dash & Dot and Cue robots that teach coding through robotics. I was introduced to this trio years ago but have always appreciated how the company has made age-appropriate learning a priority through products that provide engaging hands-on learning. Now through Wonder Workshop Classroom, the company has created everything teachers need to teach coding and robotics in their classrooms.
About Wonder Workshop Cue
Designed for ages 11+, Cue is perfect for middle school students with an interest in coding. This darling robot features motors and sensors that can be programmed to react in real time. It helps older kids go beyond the block-based drag and drop coding to more machine and text-based programming, a key skill in the STEM workforce. Cue also lets tweens and teens work independently thanks to in-app demos, tutorials, and challenges. It supports self-guided exploration of programming languages, robotic capabilities, and meaningful projects.
If you’re a parent interested in bringing hands-on coding through robotics to your middle school this year or a teacher who is looking for a more meaningful way to teach coding, here are 4 reasons to use Wonder Workshop Cue to teach coding and robotics in a classroom this year.
Using Wonder Workshop Cue to Teach Coding and Robotics to Middle Schoolers
Hands-On Collaborative Coding Challenges Engage Students Through Flexible Learning Opportunities
Tweens may envision coders as sitting by themselves at computers, typing away for hours when in fact, coding can be far more social, especially when taught through robotics. When using Wonder Workshop Cue robot, coding becomes hands-on challenge that enables tweens and teens to work together to problem solve in fun ways.
As school was ending, my middle schooler, Thomas, gave Cue a try. Even though he’s taken computer programming classes during his last two years of middle school, he started with the drag and drop coding editor to familiarize himself with Cue.
He quickly learned that he could use the Sketch Kit we received with our Cue to visualize the commands he was creating for his robot and have Cue execute them in real time.
There’s also a specially designed Wonder programming language where kids can design more precise interactions for their robot using parallel and reactive programs. This helps them learn by example and experience the full potential of Cue’s sensors and motors in real time.
Teach Coding and Robotics with Standards-Based Curriculum Resources
Wonder Workshop’s standards-based lessons encourage active learning through creative problem-solving tasks that have real-world application. Lesson plans, curriculum, and activities makes learning technology simple and accessible while helping kids grow into creative architects who become confident in their skills.
The Learn to Code Curriculum Guide helps teachers develop a clear scope and sequence for lessons thanks to standards-based lessons. The 6-8 Applied Robotics curriculum covers the fundamentals and more advanced coding and robotic skills. The Applied Robotics Curriculum Student Design notebooks are project-based units offer students choice and voice as they advance to the next level of coding and robotics. The three units include Creative Writing, Game Design, and Innovation and are great for small group or independent practice.
Wonder Workshop also features comprehensive curricular resources to help students practice computational thinking and 21st century skills with Cue. Take a look at the cross-curricular lesson plans featuring Cue that help teach coding and robotics to middle schoolers!
Teach Wonder Provides Online Professional Development
One of the biggest barriers to implementing STEM education effectively in the classroom is lacking access to professional development. As someone who used to provide technology professional development to teachers in our school system, I love that Wonder Workshop offers teachers the courses they need to become confident in integrating Cue into their classrooms through Wonder Workshop – Teach Wonder.
Wonder Workshop – Teach Wonder provides on-demand online courses to help educators better understand how coding and robots fit into daily teaching. The foundational course helps you introduces new tech tools, addresses best practices of learning theory, complements thoughtful instructional design, and impacts classroom environments. It answers the why before tackling the what and the how of Wonder Workshop’s robots.
The Introduction to Coding and Robotics with Cue course is a 12 hour professional learning course designed for middle school teachers to adopt computer science principles into instruction. Each self-paced course module begins with an introduction and learning objectives and concludes up with a concrete connection to Cue. The modules contain a mix of original and curated multimedia content, leveraging expertise and opinions from the field, plus have multiple checkpoints for reflection via our Discussion Forum and FlipGrid (video reflections). Each course module is designed to take about two hours (12 hours in total). View the Introduction to Coding and Robotics with Cue syllabus here.
Introduction to Coding and Robotics with Cue is available as a bundle with a Cue robot for $400 or as a standalone course for $200. Each teacher has 6 months (180 days) to complete the course via the Litmos platform after purchase. For more information about additional professional learning resources from Wonder Workshop, visit this link.
Enter Wonder League Robotics Competitions for Free
Wonder Workshop robots’ personalities encourage students to think creatively and be social in their problem solving while programming their robot for a classroom challenge or for a robotics league competition. The Wonder League Robotics Competition challenges teams of kids to design solutions for real-world science and technology challenges by programming Cue.
Robotics competitions are fun ways to:
- Encourage 21st century learning
- Build teamwork and community spirit
- Develop computational thinking skills
- Practice problem-solving and creativity skills
Build meaningful relationships with peers
- Display scientific thinking
Advantages of participating in The Wonder League Robotics Competition includes the ability to compete from virtually anywhere in the world. Unlike other robotics competitions that require fundraising to travel to a site for a competition, robotics teams can participate in The Wonder League Robotics Competition from anywhere!
Last year the Wonder League Robotics Competition worldwide competition included participants from 69 countries who competed virtually to win prizes like STEAM grants, robots & more!
Wonder Workshop Wants YOU to Teach Coding and Robotics with This Giveaway!
Wonder Workshop wants you to teach coding and robotics and is giving away TWO prize packages on WeAreTeachers. The winners get to choose between two amazing prize options including:
The Elementary Wonder Pack
This pack comes with Wonder’s award-winning Dash and Dot robots, accessories, and curriculum guides. Accessories, like a Xylophone, Launcher, Building Brick Connectors, Sketch Kit, and an Accessories Kit, all help students use their imagination and problem solve. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to Wonder’s Digital Activities Library for more project ideas.
New and included in the Elementary Pack: The Gripper Building Kit ($39.99) an easy-to-build set of functioning arms that expand your robot’s literal reach—and potential!
The Middle School Wonder Pack
This bundle will encourage design thinking with its two (2) award-winning Cue robots and the new Gripper Building Kit. Also, notebooks for creative writing, game design, and innovation. Plus, a one-year subscription to Wonder’s Digital Activities Library for more skill building for middle school students.
New and included for the Middle School Pack: The Gripper Building Kit and the new Blaster Power for Cue (above, value of $49.99) bring the fun as a motorized projectile-launching accessories!
Enter the Wonder Workshop giveaways through WeAreTeachers before the giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. central standard time on August 14, 2019. Good luck!
This post was written in partnership with We Are Teachers. All opinions are my own.