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Mini-piloting in Portuguese school 2012 Report on mini-piloting For the CLOHE project - Automata in the classroom

Learning through the movement and the art or ”I learned that we can make such a lot of things from two boxes!”

Piedade Vaz Rebelo Isabel Costa Belo Ana Paula Alves Rodrigues Carlos Barreira

Disclaimer: 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.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

Experimentation Report

Name of the school Name of the teacher

Escola de Ensino Básico Gualdim Pais - Pombal -

Profile of teachers How many teachers from your school are going to be involved with this piloting? Number of teachers 1 If they are specialists, what are their subject areas? Portuguese language Maths The teacher worked in a quite autonomous way.

Profile of students What age are the pupils ( please give the ages not the year group. For example 8 – 9yrs)? 7 – 10 Have they done a similar activity before Yes Not X How many students are in the piloting group and how many girls/boys? Girls Boys Total 7 9 16

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom Structure of the Piloting The mini-piloting was developed in the primary school “Gualdim Pais” involving the presence of 7, 8, 9 and 10 year old children at the same time. Two boxes with different mechanisms were previously constructed.

First session (1 h 30)

Discovering the causes of the movement At the beginning of the first session, the two Automata previously constructed were presented to the children and children expectations were assessed.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom Then, each student individually registered what she/he observed, why the puppets move and made a drawing of what they thought was the reasons for them to move. “What do I observe?”

All the children said that they observed two boxes. They drew the figures similar to the ones below.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom After, the teacher asked the children: “Why do the pupppets move?” and they wrote and drew what they imagined could be the mechanism associated.



CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

Children represented the existence of a mechanism inside the boxes. Only one of these drawings represented no mechanism within the boxes. Most had different drawings and explanations for the two types of movements, and the mechanism associated with the Box 2 was considered more complex. However, it was not easy to imagine the exact mechanism.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom Second session (2 hours)

Inventing stories with the movement and the arts At the beginning of the second session, children played with the automata and observed the mechanism.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

Then each student invented a story where the automata presented in the first session enter as a character in the story.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom Third session (1:30)

Recounting a story together After writing the individual stories, a story was selected and was improved with the collaboration of the whole group and the teacher. After the improvement, the story was written in a word document.

The story of Fosca, a little boy and his four friends as it was written by R. This story was about FOSCA, a little boy and his friends, four animals, the panda, the cricket, the chicken and the rabbit. One day, when Fosca was making a chocolate cake, his friends came into his house, one by one, very frightened, because, the sky was very dark. “Perhaps, I am going to lose my wings”, said the cricket After consulting the wolf and a Science book, they found what was happening, a solar eclipse!

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

The story of Fosca, a little boy and his four friends after being improved by the entire class and the teacher.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom Fourth session (2 hours)

Inventing math problems with the movement and the arts Each student was asked to invent a math problem. They have to invent the statement, illustrate and resolve the problem in accordance with what they wrote.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

Children formulated different kind of problems Problems formulated are all related with automata: • 8 refered the puppets and the story around them • only one refered the mechanism The resolution of the problems involve calculus. Some gaps were found between the problem statement and the problem resolution. • The problem satement missed some elements, that can be inferred by the resolution • The problem statement has elements that do no fit the resolution. • The children could not resolve the problem he formulated

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom Fifth and sixth sessions

Constructing an automata (4:00) During two sessions of about 2 hours each, pupils construted their automata based in Fosca story.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom What has been the main learning objective of this mini-piloting The objectives of the mini-piloting were:  Test automata in the classroom  Explore how to establish links between the automata and other subjects as Mother Tongue, Mathematics, Visual Expression or Sciences. The main learning objectives of this mini-piloting were:  Observe different types of movement.  Develop mental representation of the mechanisms associated to the movement.  Develop competences in oral and written communication.  Develop mathematics competences

What were the tools used to evaluate the process impact All the activities were realized in the context of the classroom and non-structured observations were made every day in order to evaluate the development and involvement of students in terms of the project objectives. The tools used to evaluate the process impact were: the activity perception questionnaire the teacher’s registers and perceptions and also the activities and products developed by the children: the texts written, the drawings about the mechanisms, the math problems invented and the solving process of these problems.

What were the expectations of the children? At the beginning of the first session the expectations of the children were explored asking them “What do you think we are going to do?”. Some of their answers were: “Are we going to see a puppet show?”, “Are we going to listen to a story?”, “Are we going to tell a story to each other?”, “Are we going to draw?” The children were very interested in the activity and gave the impression of being really fascinated! In the following classes they often asked when they were going to work with the “boxes” (the term used for the automata).

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

What has been ex post regarding the self evaluation of children What did the children say?


















“We invented stories, math problems, we drew how we imagine the puppets move, it was very fun.” “I learned:  how the boxes move  to write math problems with puppets  to invent texts that were related with the puppets  to make the puppets move  to imagine how this happens. To invent stories To improve writing To invent math problems that were related with the movement To know how the puppets move. “I learned that from two boxes we can do a lot of things!”

The teacher also considered that the activities proposed in the mini-piloting stimulated pupils to observe mechanisms and movement and also to imagine the mechanisms associated with the movement. The proposed activities also promoted creativity, oral and written communication and were an opportunity to develop collaborative work. The activity of writing a text helped pupils understand their own thinking. Improving the text in a collaborative activity was an opportunity to raise awareness of the pupils to the coherence and cohesion of the text. The pupils appreciated being involved in activities in which they were the actors of the process.

CLOHE – Automata in the classroom

What went well As from the first session, the pupils showed interest and motivation in the proposed activities. The presentation of the Automata stimulated a positive social environment in the classroom and enhanced motivation for learning specific subjects as Portuguese and Maths. Also, the experience valued the students' productions, fosters creativity and inquiry around the Automata movement.

Regarding the relationship between the Automata and work with math problem formulation by students in the mini-pilot: This connection has not been studied with any mediated instrument (questionnaire to students, for example). However, the nine problems formulated by the students have a common characteristic that is the different elements that are part of the automata and the story made up by the students, in a group, starting off with the automata and the puppets that constitute it. This aspect may show that the automata and their handling / use may have created a work context that is pleasant, rich, and meaningful to students, in order to provide good experiences and thus enhance better learning. Note that some students chose as the setting for the problem formulated the box (or boxes) and also the mechanisms (only 1), unambiguously related to the automata (since the class teacher encouraged students to formulate conjectures about the contents of the boxes). We believe that with this work an aspect became clear: despite the reduced operating mechanism and absence of the construction of the automata (before math problem formulation), this teacher was able to integrate it very well in her teaching practice, creating a good learning environment and products that enable an assessment regulating the learning process (problem analysis prepared by students, difficulties in the construction of statements and also in the respective resolutions).

What can be improved More time will be needed to explore the developed activities.

Repor minipiloting portuguese  

Brief report of the minipiloting held in Portugal

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