Creating and making is a wonderful way for children to learn. When students make models of ideas, tools for inquiry, or invent to learn, this is constructionism.
Constructionist learning involves students drawing their own conclusions through creative experimentation and the making of social objects. The constructionist teacher takes on a mediational role rather than adopting an instructional role. Teaching “at” students is replaced by assisting them to understand—and help one another to understand—problems in a hands-on way. The teacher’s role is not to be a lecturer but a facilitator who coaches students to attaining their own goals.
(Alesandrini, K. & Larson, L. (2002). Teachers bridge to constructivism. The Clearing House, 119–121)
Content Descriptor from Science curriculum for Grade 6:
Electrical energy can be transferred and transformed in electrical circuits and can be generated from a range of sources (ACSSU097)
Students in STEMies Club, which is for students from grade 4 – 6, were given the opportunity to design and create a Doodle Bot (or Draw Bot).
This involved recognising the need for a complete circuit to allow the flow of electricity and exploring the features of electrical devices such as switches.
The girls were excited to design and create a bot which would include a switch. An example of a circuit with a switch was on display for the girls to interact with and work out how it functioned.
Girls also worked out how to make the bot vibrate by off centring an object from the DC motor to create a wobble!
There was so much fun, problem-solving, perseverance and delight when their bot worked…yay!