Playground Unit: Introduction to the Curriculum
This curriculum introduces powerful ideas from computer science, specifically programming in a robotics context, to Pre-K- 2nd grade students in a structured, developmentally appropriate way. While the curriculum uses the technology of the LEGO® WeDo™ robotic kit, the powerful ideas are applicable to any other robotic construction kit. The term powerful idea refers to a central concept within a domain that is at once personally useful, interconnected with other disciplines, and has roots in intuitive knowledge that a child has internalized over a long period of time. The powerful ideas from computer science addressed in this curriculum include: the engineering design process, robotics, programming, repeat parameters, and sensors. These powerful ideas are explored in the context of a curriculum that draws on the theme of the playground and can be adapted to many other early childhood themes. Each unit follows the same basic structure: 1) warm up games to playfully introduce or reinforce concepts, 2) introduction of the powerful idea through a challenge, 3) work individually or in pairs, 4) technology circle, 5) free-explorations, and 6) student’s assessment. Teachers should adapt the lesson structure and its components to suit their class’s needs. There are two versions of the curriculum, one tailored to meet the needs of Pre-K- Kindergarten students and one tailored for 1st and 2nd grade students. While the same powerful ideas are addressed, the pacing and accompanying math and literacy activities vary by grade level.