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Automata: Moving toys in the Classroom Step by step teacher guide

1. Introduction

This document is intended for all teachers who want to plan the “moving toys in the classroom” workshop in their school to enhance the didactic and educative program in a classor in the whole school. This document, published on line on the project’s web site (www.clohe-movingtoys.eu) , is in two steps: a. drafted before the piloting sessions starting in November 2012 b. finalised after the piloting sessions, in April 2013 In these guidelines you can find some technical and methodological indications that can help you to replicate this workshop experience and adapt these indications to different school and to different subjects.

1.1 Learning through Automata Automata are “story telling mechanical sculptures” and therefore they are a child tailored communication device which is much appreciated by the children and easy to realize in the classroom. Automata construction enhances competence areas. In fact, order to realize an Automata kids and children have to follow a series of activities that entail the acquisition of abilities. The activities are:     

Story telling Story analysis Designing the mechanical process Handcraft construction Working in groups

Page 1 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


2. The Classroom Process Step 0. Deciding the Learning objectives

Teachers task: identifying the competence areas that are more important to be promoted amongst the pupils

Step 1: : BUILDING THE NARRATIVE

The starting point of the Automata in the Classroom workshop is a narrative text. The teacher can use  An existing text (tale, fairy tale, nursery rhymes, poems, story)  The text can be the same for the whole class or they can ask the children to choose which one they prefer.  An original text made by the children (individual work or group work)  a well-known story and then ask pupils to extend it or modify it. After choosing or creating the story the children have to choose a scene or more from the story. The children task: Choosing or creating a text; choosing scene(s) The teachers role: choosing the best method for their children to work on a story; formulating clear instructions for the children.

Step 2: Making the project of automata

After the children have identified the key points, they have to plan how to animate them and how to make them switch from twodimensional to three-dimensional. The children’s task:  identify how to represent them in a three-dimensional space  define the characters, the materials, colours, size  identify and look for the materials (i.e. recycled materials)  identify the movement they want to give to the scene Page 2 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


The teachers role: the teachers can choose possible variations at this stage  Teachers can start the construction with the materials already prepared, showing the mechanics of different moves  Teachers can start introducing individual items creating the movement and then guide the children to the assemblage of the latter, according to the desired movement  Teachers can start showing a finished piece of art and ask the pupils to formulate hypothesis about how the movment is possible (deductive learning)

Step3: Production of the Automata    

designing the automata, drawing in scale the artistic elements and realizing them design the mechanical structure and the mechanical components assembling the mechanical structure, the components and the artistic upper parts testing the movement of the automata and using the feedback to bring amendments to the construction

Variations  Students can create one automata per story  Students can create more than one automata displaying various scenes from one or more stories with different movements. The teacher role: The teacher have to help the children during the costruction work especially when it is needed the use of tools potentially harmful like the hot glue or the awl. Moreover, the teachers have to help the children to think and to find the useful mechanism to the movement that they want to realize. The children task: Make the mechanisms and the figures. The automata can be completed with the realization of the scene. The pupils can decorate the box and made a proper scene behind the figure This task can be particulary suitable to the younger pupils or to the pupils who don’t like hand-building.

Page 3 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Step 4: Use in curricular subjects

Automata production process and the final product might constitute the whole activity, focusing on a specific competence area Automata produced might be used as a tool for learning/teaching another subject such as math, literature or foreign languages.

Step 5:

Getting Feedback

 Interest/enjoyment  Value/usefulness  Perceived competence This an example of how to structure the evaluation: Before starting the workshop: • LEARNING NEEDS AND TEACHERS • CHILDRENS EXPECTATIONS You can evaluate this aspects orally (through focus group for example) After the workshop: • ACTIVITY PERCEPTION QUESTIONNAIRE This questionnaire is useful to evaluate the pupils feedback: if they like the activity, if they are motivated for and which aspects they prefer. This evaluation is very useful to replicate the workshop experience. During the Workshop It would be useful to record observation in the LOGBOOK (see Template LOGBOOK for Teachers on www.clohe-movingtoys.eu )

3. The materials For the Structure: A box in which to put the mechanism. The box should be made of wood, plastic, cardboard... It is necessary that the box can be opened and drilled easily.

Page 4 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Figure 1 Shoes box

For the Mechanism: o Some wheels that can be derived from foam or rubber mats (for example used for camping or gym. )The wheels should be made of wood or plastic, also the wheels must be drilled.

o Wood long sticks (skewers or roundwood) The same used for cooking are perfect because the children can cut them easily.

Figure 2 Steaks

o

Drinking straws . The most suitable type is those that can bend.

Page 5 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Figure 3 Drinking Straws

o Cork and plastic bottle tops.

Figure 4 bottle tops (above) and corks (below)

For the Puppet: to realize the narrative part the variety of material that can be used is very broad: coloured sheets rubber, cardboard, pieces of rubber mats, wooden sticks, straws, coloured ribbons, fabrics, crepe paper, coloured paper, newspapers, recycled or natural materials, and everything the teacher and children can imagine. Tools: hot glue, awls, scissors, pliers, knife, etc.. (For security reasons some of this instruments cannot be used by children directly).

Page 6 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


(For security reasons some of this instruments can only be used by children accompanied with an adult). Since the material are extremely various and easy to find the teacher may ask the pupils to look and keep some objects that otherwise be thrown (bottle tops, paper...) in this way we can add also another context and teaching to the workshop.

3.1 How to build a very simple Automata 1) Watch this video to see how this type of automata works

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RR___AvSs&list=PL97CC7CB303710A7B&index=19&feature=plpp_video

2) Take a box (a shoes box is what you need) you do not need the top of the box

Page 7 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


3) Materials you will need: - Long sticks (to cook) to make the mechanisms - Drinking straws to pass the sticks through - Bottles caps or corks - Soft foam to be cutted in wheels or in parts of puppets

4) Tools you will need (you must use hot glue and awls with your teacher or with your parents) - Scissors - Glue - Markers - Awl

Page 8 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


5) Open the shoes box and make the mechanism inside the box using two long sticks and two wheels: you can make the wheels cutting foam or soft rubber or using bottles cap

Page 9 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


6) The vertical stick must pass through a drinking straw, that will be fixed with glue on the top of the box

7) Create a figure by using rubber or paper

Page 10 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


8) Put it up on the vertical stick

9) Put an handle on the end of the horizontal stick. Make it with a bottle cap.

Page 11 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


10) All is ready! Turn the handle and see your automata moving!

4. For the Children 

Make them expressing themselves

ALL CHILDREN GET A LOGBOOK TO WRITE OR DRAW THEIR IDEAS,QUESTIONS,THOUGHTS,IRRITATIONS,PLANS ….. 

Make them aware of the process

The project can be communicated to the pupils through simple and visual code-based tools: A Poster with pictures, showing a possible working process A poster drawn by teacher for instance on the following informative text: A video explaining the project to the children http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGdPsKaCEjE

Page 12 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Figure 5 Poster for children

Page 13 The project ‘Clockwork objects, enhanced learning: Automata Toys Construction in 1mary education for Learning to Learn promotion, creativity fostering & Key Competences acquisition’ has been funded with support from the European Commission. This document reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Automata in the c lassroom brief step by step teachers guide