August 28

The Marshmallow Tower Challenge!

Students were really competitive this week as they engaged in the engineering design process to build the tallest marshmallow tower in 18 minutes. I was so impressed with the camaraderie within the groups and the positive relationships among the peers. At the end of the challenge, we came together as a whole class and groups reflected on their teamwork. The groups discussed what went well and what they could have worked on to have a more successful tower. Teams, including the kindergartners, all agreed that the best part of the challenge was working together and even if they lost the challenge, they still had fun. Goal accomplished!!! Do you want to know which grade level was the best at building the marshmallow tower? Check out this Ted Talk on the purpose of building the marshmallow tower.

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August 21

Paper Airplanes, Sequencing, and Algorithms!

This week, we continued to learn about algorithms and I added sequential order and the engineering design process. Grades 2-5 students worked together to create a paper airplane (not one they are used to making). One partner had to cut and paste the paper airplane algorithm and place the steps in sequential order so that the other partner can build the paper airplane based on their partner’s algorithm. It was not an easy task! Then we went outside on the playground to participate in the “2016 Paper Airplane Olympics” where students tried to fly their planes the furthest to win. In round two, students had the opportunity to redesign their planes to improve their flight distance and go for the win! We had a pleasant surprise when an actual pilot who was visiting our school, saw us on the playground and joined in on the fun. He helped some of the students redesign their planes, discussed friction, and showed the students the proper way to fly a paper airplane so that it will utilize the wind to gain distance on the competition. Grades K-1 learned sequencing by coding Angry Birds! It was a great week.

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August 14

STEM Lab Happenings 8/8-8/12/16

This week students reviewed the meaning of algorithm and learned about sequencing, then created programs using codes and symbols. They also learned to code using a computer-based program, the Foos. Kindergartners learned how to drag and drop icons in preparation for block coding and used markers to program and code Ozobot, a tiny robot. Fun times!


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August 6

First Week of STEM Lab!

Hello HLES Fam! The first week of our STEM lab was a hit! We talked about binary, coding, and algorithm and grades 2-5 made binary bracelets, the black and white beaded bracelet that your child came home with on their wrist. The objective of the binary bracelets was to demonstrate how computers communicate and store information in their database using only two options called binary. Grades K-1 demonstrated what an algorithm (coding) is by moving a character named “Flurb” using arrows to get to a piece of fruit or a pot of gold. Then, K-1 students transformed into computer programmers and robots and the computer programmers had to code their robots to get to Dot (one of our robots) using our coding mat (see pics below).

Students are inquiring about my robotics club that will begin in September and it is a great opportunity for your child to learn 21st century skills needed in the job force and in life. Those skills are the 4 C’s: Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking Skills, and Creativity. There will be two clubs, one for grades K-2 on Mondays and the other for grades 3-5 on Wednesdays. We will work with robots such as Ozobot, Sphero, and Dash and Dot. I do have iPads, however, not all of them are compatible with all of the robots, so students will have to bring their own device.

Right now, the club is limited to 15 students due to the lack of technology. However, I do have two projects on Donors Choose that will allow me to have up to 25 students if they get funded by September. Our school is a Title I school and we have extremely smart students, however, some families cannot afford to buy their children 21st century technology or send them to technology camps to further their education beyond the classroom. So please consider donating for the less fortunate students. If you cannot afford the technology needed for the robotics club or know someone, please email me at You will be considered based on full funding of my Donors Choose projects.

Please click on the links below to access my Donors Choose pages and read about the project for a better understanding of why my request needs funding. Get your families, friends, companies, churches, etc. involved for a great cause! THANK YOU 🙂

Show Me the Money!

Technology of Mass Instruction!

Here is a list of compatible devices for ALL of the robots:

Apple IOS Devices:

  • iPad mini 1, 2, 3, and 4 with ios 8.1 or higher (you just need to update your software in settings for ios 8.1+),
  • iPad 3, 4
  • iPad Air 1, 2
  • iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus
  • iPod Touch 5

Android Devices (OS 4.4.2+ update your software in settings):

  • Nexus 9
  • Galaxy Note 10.1
  • Galaxy Note Pro 12.2
  • Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, 10.1
  • Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, 8.0, 10.1
  • Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4
  • Galaxy Tab S 8.4, 10.5
  • Nabi 2S
  • Nabi DreamTab

Kindle Devices (OS 5.1.2+ update your software in settings):

  • Fire HD 6
  • Fire HD 8
  • Fire HD 10 (2015 HD Display)



Students had to figure out the binary code under the “Welcome” sign on our LEGO board and they did!









Kindergarteners learning about the word algorithm and coding “Flurb” to get to a piece of fruit or pot of gold.


Students fascinated by Dash, one of our robots.


Can you figure out the binary message under the “Welcome” sign?


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Students engaged in making their binary bracelets using black and white beads to code their initials.













Students trying to figure out the binary code under the “Welcome” sign.