AutoSTEM Webinar (Using Automata To Teach STEM To Young Learner)
Aug 30, 2021
Good evening everyone and welcome in the scientific webinar auto stem automotive speed stem subjects the young learners. Today with us we have a journey of the communications officer of the project and all of our field, the project coordinator of autosomal. All the time is a project that uses multidisciplinary approaches that introduce stem concept and comprehensive in different subject areas of the same time. Measurement, transfer of power, mechanics, numbers, creativity, and comprehensive. Joel Oliver, thank you very much and the floor is yours. Thank you. First of all, can everybody hear us okay, please? No issues there. Just let us know in the chat that you can hear us. And if you have any other problems or questions, please do let us know. First of all, thank you very much to eleni, who's put a lot into making this webinar happen. And scientists for being such a great platform for helping stem teaching across the whole of Europe, and then finally a big thank you for everybody for coming. Goes without you be low level and I would be talking to each other, which I'm afraid we've done before. It's not so exciting. So we're going to get straight into this and see what we've got. Auto stem is a very interesting project because it's multi disciplinarian. And it's funded in the erasmus program in the KA two O one, section which is large scale projects that create innovative resources for all the schools of Europe. We say all the schools of Europe because everything we produce is freely available. So in fact, it can be downloaded and used by anybody anywhere. That's the whole point of these projects. This particular project is focusing on new resources, innovative resources, the students from four to 8 years old. And we are using them to introduce basic ideas of stem, different areas of stem, and Oliver will be following me and putting those into greater detail and explaining exactly how they work within the idea of using automata. Now, some of you may not be completely sure what automata are and what sort of work we're doing with them. So in a minute, we're just going to show you a video, not quite yet in a minute or two. And you'll get an idea of what we're actually doing there. Before I do that, I just want you to know who's involved in the project and who are the partners in the project. And they're listed there and I'll just read them off. We have the university of coimbra in Portugal who are the coordinators of the project. University college in trondheim in Norway, where Oliver is a specialist teacher of kindergarten teachers. It's a teacher training institute. The 32nd school in Sofia Bulgaria, who are a very successful interesting school in the middle of Sofia, Eureka, perugia in Italy, who are a teacher, ideas for them and bringing new ideas and education. And myself from the kinder sites in the UK, and yes, we're still in the program and very happy to say. At this stage, I'd like everybody to have a quick look at what automata are. So in Lenny, if you could praise, show the video. That's okay. Okay. Can we go back to the presentation, please? While we're waiting for the presentation to come back in, that's good. I'd just like to say that the balloon boat that we can see Oliver launching here into a fjord in Norway has actually gone missing, so if anybody does actually find it if they could please return it to the project would be very grateful. Thank you. The automata that we actually saw there are different levels of sophistication and different ways of making them. But they're all designed for young children. Now, in this project, we're making a number of different resources and in fact we've actually got more than we've listed here, and I'm going to go through those resources which you can use and take as you wish in greater detail after we tell you more about how the project works. We've got a step by step teacher guide that is a full gift full theory and pedagogical pedagogic concepts that we use within the within the project and why we're using automata and how they work and can be developed for learning of stem. We've got about 12 or 14 different automata that we're using, which we'll just go to the right page. Seems having jumps around. We have different automata that do teach different areas and are suitable for different age groups and for learning different areas of stem, and each of those is detailed on the website with videos and documentation telling you how you can use those. We're building up some scenarios on how you can implement multiple automata within different areas to bring up more ideas and more errors into the use of them, for example, we have a bird, a crocodile, and an elephant. So we're making a jungle or a river scenario. So we can then bring ecology and other areas into that same learning area. And finally, we have resources for planning and reflection. We are currently writing and building some online course and an offline course. Which will, you can use to teach yourself and understand further how to use the automata in your teaching. And finally, we're actually also writing some case studies looking at examining and analyzing how we have found using these automata within workshops for teachers and with children and the feedback that we've gained and we have passed on that information to you as well. I'd rather like to hand over to Oliver, who will tell you all about the pedagogic concepts. It's logo. And it represents support areas of stem education or stem research or stem. Systemic abbreviation acronym for technology. Science, mathematics, and engineering. And I want to go through those four areas and I'll tell you a little bit about what how the automata automata related to it. So technology usually we think when we hear technology nowadays about digital technology, but technology begins much earlier in much simpler technology and all tools and machines are kind of technologies. So automata, each automaton and itself is a kind of technology because it is the simple machine that does something. And that is so we have a very wide understanding of term automata. So every toy that has some moving parts is automaton. And in addition, we have tools or the children use tools when making the automata. The next area is mathematics. And when it comes to mathematics, we use Alan bishop's theory about the 6 fundamental mathematical activities and the automotive are related to all 6 and here you can see the different. This heightening is about geometry. It's about shapes and here related to the toys. It is to design automaton where you need to think about which shapes do I need to create this tire that I am thinking about and when the children are making their own automata, they experience a lot of different shapes. For example, we have a bird that has a round body that is like an ellipse and the wings are rectangles and then we have the crocodile with the scissor mechanism and it is made out of rectangles. And the next area, our activity is locating and that is about spatial awareness spatial relationships because the different parts that have different shapes have to be arranged in a certain order and in a special relation spatial relationship to each other in order to make the toy function. And then we have counting because often the children have to count. How many of these parts do I need to build as automaton? And measuring is because it parts of certain lengths or whites with so that the children have to measure a lot. Or make have experiences measuring while building the automata and as well when playing with automata, for example, we have a catapult and then you can have activities where you choose something and then they can measure how long distance approach buying. And everything is about playing the playing is in fact a mathematical activity because a lot of creativity and as well as strategic thinking is involved and playing. And finally, explaining and that is to talk with the children about how the machine toy is working, how can we understand that when you do something on this end of the machine that something else is happening and different kinds of motion? Here we have an example of a crocodile or the inner tower and here you can see the shapes of the rectangles and that direct rectangles are arranged in a specific pattern. Old those that go in one direction are above and the others going in the other direction are below and you have some revolving turning motion and then when you. Turn it apart on the one end, then it goes apart. On the other hand, but in the same way change it is length. So a lot of things that the children can explore here. And mathematics is as well related to the science. And there we have the different sciences, physics, of course. There's a lot of mechanics. Involved in making the automata and as Joel has already said, we have as well as the biology, but here first some examples. So we have different kind of motors, different kinds of power, sources, like the rubber band mode of, for example, or air balloon where the pressure gives the thrust to move forward, you'll have already seen the draw bridge that you have to power by yourself or the children have to power by turning the handle. But the turning motion can be up as well, make here with the wind to be. For different power sources, and that designs of course on physics and energy, and as joy already told you biology because many of our toys are representing animals. For example, birds and crocodiles are and you can use this to teach biology and so allergy. And. Here you can see some examples of those. So the birds is the bird here and the butterfly and elephant is a very simple mechanism that entities opening and shunting the mouse and like that. And we have automata for all age groups so the elephant is for very young children because it has a simple mechanism and the bird is for maybe four or 5 years old and then we have the catapult that is maybe all the children. And. Theory and other signs that you can work this and finally we have engineering and engineering is about for science is about explaining how the world works, how the laws of nature are working, but engineering is about developing something new. And that is one of our aims as well, not only that the children make and play with automata, but that they got their own ideas and develop their own ideas and maybe create their own toys and here are some examples not made by the children, but made by the teachers. That showed that Cicero mechanisms that were used for the crocodile for dinosaur that can be used for many different things and the teachers have been very creative. And. We have L evaluated our workshops with the teachers, so that is results from the teachers. We have as well observations with children, but that will be the topic in a different workshop in a different way now. So here we are focusing on what the teachers think about the workshop. And they all agreed that children's play is important and play with automata that it can be motivated for the children that is it facilitates the children's creativity and creativity and wonder and wonders are placed important role in the sciences. About how things are related to each other and how things work. The teachers liked very much that our workshop is interdisciplinary. So that all the different disciplines or the different subjects work together. So not only the stem subjects, that is already in itself, but as well the arts and language has an important role because while working without them. Walk to the children. Children will learn new terms, new concepts. You might. Let the teachers set as well that there is a lot of time needed to work with this. So if you have a very strict schedule or like some schools have that might be a problem, so you have to take the time to make a project and I will encourage you to say that it is not waste of time. It is very good to invest the time. Because the children have so many different and varied experience with different subjects and so they will learn much better than you. When you talk, talk with substitutes for itself. So you have to provide enough time, time for building the automata time that the children need to explore how the mechanism works. And time to test and play with the toys. And all those activities are learning activities. All those experiences that the children have when they do those activities are important or their. Education. And I am working with kindergarten teachers or preschool teachers and that is in Norway, not only the 5 year olds, but from words to 6 year olds. So our focus touch each group is four to 8 years, but we have as well some experiences almost students have tried out some even younger children. And when you think about the elephant or the bird, that you can do is even younger children. And. The good thing about the kindergarten or the preschool is that you often do not have a strict curriculum or schedule and do you have much more possibilities to have work and projects. It's more usually difficult. And then after the thing, that's a student said that that should be not too many. Children in one group. So it might be difficult to do it in a class research children. But in kindergarten, you often work in small groups. You have 5, 6 children. That would be very good. We gave as well a questionnaire to the teachers and the students and that is from the. We use two scales, one about the usefulness and value of the activities and one about teachers, interests and joy. So that is not the young children that answered those questions, but it's a teachers. And it shows that we got only positive responses. So you have a range from one to 7. And the minimum was four, so that is on the positive side. So of our attendant. All of the teacher students that have participated in this one workshop that we have evaluated. Liked the activities very good. So evaluated at activities is used tools and great values for children. Okay, now let's see your churn again, John. Have to remember to unmute my microphone before I start speaking. Thank you very much, Oliver. That's great. I wish I could do that. What we've got here is a list of the different automata that we're actually using at the moment in the project. And each of those items can actually be clicked on and you will go to the page. But let's not go into that clicky thing yet because I'd like to run through the resources that we've actually made for you. So I'm going to go to the next page. When you click on any one of those links, you'll find a page on the website. And that's broken up so you can evaluate what that particular automata is going to be teaching you and how you can deal with it, make it, and what resources we've got for you to help you use that item with your children. And the website page is broken. I'm going to what areas of stem learning that particular automata can be used for. There's a video on how to make that automata. There's a 14 teachers step by step guide for that particular automata, and we're going to have a look at that in much greater detail in a moment. We're going to look at a real one. Where we have it, we have media examples, videos and photos of children making those automata and you can get a feel for how they've been used and what sort of engagement you can have with those children. Where appropriate we have templates that you can print off. So the one we're actually looking at at the moment online here is the jelly bear, what we call the jelly boat, which is the flapping bird. It's flapping. And you can see you can download and print these off on a standard computer printer, and then you just give those to the children and the instructions that you'll find in the teacher step by step guide will tell you how to use Latin implement that with your children. Now, the next page, we're going to write, I can see what you've done. And then it seems to change this. So Alan, can you please put up the PDF? For this one. For the step by step guide. Brilliant. Thank you so much. Let's check how I can run up and down that. Okay, so as I said, when you go into the website, the web page, you'll find that every item that we have there has a template, a document like this with the same structure which will help you understand how you can use that particular automata and how to make it and how what materials you'll use, what tools you'll need. So we're going to go through this one in some depth. If you go to look at any of the other automata, you will find the same structure there for you as well. The guide has basically two parts, as it says, how you can introduce the stem ideas in this case, mathematical concepts, and then how to construct that particular jelly but that particular automata. So we've also got some additional information here on how you can actually take the jelly bird, this particular automata, a little bit further. And make it a bringing further ideas and concepts into your classroom. So here we talk about how flocks of birds fly together because the children can make these flocks of birds with their own jelly birds and copy how this happens and do it like this. Of course, all the automata can go home. Very easily. And in this case, if a child was given a bedtime story featuring a bird, this would be a very nice way to bring the jelly bird into the story be part of that story, and we give an example of a book where a freely available story where the jelly bag could be used within that concept. Again, it brings the school, the child, the parents, and their whole life, into this learning experience. We can change the wing shapes, Oliver mentioned earlier that the wings on the jelly bird that we have are oblongs. And we do that specifically because we want to talk about that shape, but additionally they can be made into different areas. Let's say you're working on more advanced shapes geometric shapes you could change the shape of the wings in the same way and bring that in. So here you can see how you could use this in the areas that we're talking about, and again, Oliver mentioned some of these points about the body being round, but it's not a circle, and the jelly I should mention the jelly bird is designed for the youngest children, so four, 5, 6 year olds just about maybe these are the very basic concepts you can be talking about. I'm not going to read them all out. You can do that yourself. I'm sure you can download this or from the website. It tells you exactly how that can be used. And just below here, we actually go through how you can use that as for children. It is important that the children and you can see in the photo just below it to children who are making the actual bird the automata in this case. Again, that's a very important part. But as they're making it, the teacher talks with the children about the various mathematical concepts that can be brought in with this particular automata. And it's the same with all the automata, how we can bring those mathematical engineering, the canical, physical concepts, into the into the conversation as you're teaching. I did a workshop with some slightly older children, where we were making the first automotive we saw in the video, the balloon car, and we got into about conservation of energy and where the energy comes from, that caused the car to move the going from, well, you at food, so you have air to blow into the balloon, and the balloon, et cetera, et cetera and where that energy came from. So all sorts of conversations can be started in these because you're using mechanical forces and all various ways and various ideas at the same time. And here, as I say, you can see specific areas that you can bring into the conversation as the children are making that automata and again, this is why you need that time element to, for the children to take in those concepts and have that conversation and make the actual jelly bird at time as the same time. And there we have children busy making and playing with their choice that they've now made. In this part of the PDF, they're all PDFs that you can download. You can see that we show the tools that you're going to need, and it's all very standard stuff for the standard computer printer, paper, color paper, a four card scissors, glue stick, through packaging, and coloring materials. Everything that we normally have in the school. And we just have a link to the templates that you need to print for each child would need two pieces of paper for that. Again, we have a link to the video that was shown on the website previously so you can go and run through that. So you can understand the construction, perhaps try out that construction before you do it with the children. And then a step by step numbered guide, how you actually go through and make the particular automata that you're looking at. So hopefully that gives you a good idea of how deep and I hope complete the instructions we're putting together with the actual each automata. And as I say, and as we've said, these are starting points, you can take this much further as well. Please can we go back to the slideshow and then please. Thank you very much. Okay. So eleni has got the link. Thank you. Has got the link to the teacher step by step guide, which is also on the resource page of the site. This is what I've just described already when we spoke we went through the PDF. I'm just going to run back to the list of automata, so these are ones that you could actually click on now and give some ideas. I also want to just explain again about the online course that we're currently constructing and as I'm sure you're all aware, the project obviously has run into time problems because of what's been happening with the COVID-19 virus that has meant that the progress of the project is not on schedule, which is sure everybody can understand. This is an international project we will no longer at the moment we can't even meet. But we have actually managed to continue online, we are making, as I say, an online course. That's actually constructing some construction at the moment, and that will go through all these different automata so you can see exactly how they can be used in what area for what age group and the multiple uses you can actually use them for. So for example, something like the catapult which you can see just halfway down there. I don't know if this will shop that doesn't. That can be used from very young children for very basic measuring and counting to quite complicated mass with averages a means and furthest, shortest, and other ideas as well. And many of them can also have these different areas that can be brought in. That actually takes us to the end of the part of the webinar. This part of it, I do want to say that it's very important, I don't know if we brought this out enough while we've been speaking, that the automata work extremely well as a motivating tool for children and as a way of introducing concepts that may be quite difficult. Because there's a very huge motivational aspect and a fun aspect, and it's very important as Oliver said in the his the expert that the children have time to play with what they make, and there's a lot of play and a lot of interesting play that can be used. For example, when I did the balloon car with some children, we then started having races and who could go the furthest. There's many ideas again that's all mathematics or different areas of physics are being brought in in that play that can be explored as well. On this play page here, you can see the links to the website to our YouTube channel. To Facebook, we have a Facebook Facebook page where we are updating it very regularly with news and what is happening in the project and you can see where we're going and where it's moving on. So thank you very much. Now we'd be very happy to answer any questions if you would like to write them into the chat please. There's an interesting question. Martha asked, do you think this activity can be done even remotely in online teaching? I think that's very relevant today. Oliver, do you want spoken a lot now? Do you want to answer that one? Adult. But with. 6, 7, 8 years old, I think. We have not tried it. We tried it with adults. This remotely are soon. And that worked. And one important aspect of this is that you do not need expensive materials. Many of our toys are made from recycled materials from reused materials. So when you tell your students the children what kind of things they need, for example, the milk cultural for the boat. Then they can collect those things and then you can show them where soon we are the Internet, how to assemble it, and then they can do it by themselves. If they are if they're mature abilities are good enough to make it on their own, or if they have a parent, for example, that can help them. But as I said, we have very different kinds of automaton and some are more advanced. And more advanced skills and some are very easy to make, make and the easy ones are the children do not need help. Older as would be possible. We're trying. To. Have do we have more questions? So are we back to me? Okay. Yes, there's actually a very interesting question here from gamby. I hope I said that correctly. Please excuse me if I didn't. And he put quite a long question. I'm going to read it out for everybody. I'm just going to find the video. He said, he asked, what do you, for older students, would the use of ready made patterns hinder their creativity? For example, while speaking about force topic, I observed when I give students any straws sticks and a certain amount of carbon and taped by a solution to a Pacific problem, then they can make many different ideas and answers that can be very creative in it. So again, I know all of you are specifically with younger children. Do you want to just learn much more when they have to solve problems when you just introduce a concept or maybe even with a young children, we show them that other toys are determined and show how it works and they try it and then they try to figure out how the mechanism works and try to rebuild it. And then, when we observe as a teacher, that's a child needs help and needs some hints and some scaffolding for to find a solution. Then we can do this, but in the first place, it's child's own problem solving that is. The test effect. And for sure. That was the great problem solving. Yes? Okay? Oliver, since I couldn't quite hear the very end, did you finish that? Okay, sorry. Okay, thank you very much for all of us. I don't know if there's any more questions and I've missed anybody. I hope I haven't. Maybe there was something earlier. If there was an earlier question, please do popes down to the bottom again. So I can easily see it. One of the things I'd be very grateful for, and thank you for your very positive comments and feedback on this. And please do understand that Oliver and I are any two members of the team of 5 from 5 different institutions who are actually working on this. So it's not all of us. I don't want to take credit for everything. And thank you for your interest in this. It'd be very helpful to the project and because we're always very much evaluating what we're doing and trying to get feedback that if you do try these, particularly if you try them in an online setting and remember the whole concept is that you can download and work remotely from the website that we don't have to give you immediate feedback all the time. It's very helpful for us though as a project if you actually write to us and tell us so give us some feedback of how it worked. My email address is there on the site at the moment you can see Joel at kind of site dot info, please do use that as a link if you need if you can't find another link. But it's very important to us that we get your feedback. When you look at the individual automata that list you will find a lot of interesting information. For example, on the jelly bird, though the children can download the templates and print off their templates themselves and you could quite easily run that online, but as Oliver says not with the youngest children perhaps because I'll need some more scaffolding, perhaps you won't be able to supply. Okay, is there any further questions? For us. And I'd just like to mention that as Elena's put in now a couple of times importance that you share your feedback on this webinar through the survey that is online and the links to their in the chat at the moment for you to see. So please do do that. It does help everybody to know how we're going and what we're doing with our work and with science is work as well. So that's an important point. But apart from that. Thank you so much. It was an amazing show. And many many thanks to all our participants. Okay. So I'll just do the last thank you, which is to Lenny and scientists for letting us do this presentation and then of course to everybody who's come to seeing this. I hope you found it valuable and we look forward to your feedback and involvement in our project. Thank you very much. And have a good day, evening, whatever.