780 Swarthmore Avenue
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Jayme Johnson, Director of Academic Technology
Crystal Rain Forest, Bee-Bot, Roamer turtle
Robots, Logo, and Crystal Rain Forest work together to make up a programming spiral throughout the grades at Village School. The youngest students begin with controlling Bee-Bot robots and move on to Crystal Rain Forest in second grade, followed by Roamer and Logo and then the construction and control of Lego robotics by sixth grade. According to Jayme Johnson, Director of Academic Technology, this programming progression builds increasingly sophisticated logic, reasoning, and structured thinking skills in Village School students.
Crystal Rain Forest is used most formally during the last trimester of second grade, in conjunction with a rain forest immersion program in the classroom. Students develop math skills using Crystal Rain Forest in the computer lab but also can tie their on-screen adventures to their rain forest lessons in the classroom. Ms. Johnson has developed an activity checklist to guide her students through the adventure and Crystal Logo challenges to use with the open-ended "mini-Logo" with which the adventure culminates. She reports that the new consolidated record-keeping function in Version 2 has eliminated her need to keep paper records of her students' progress.
Ms. Johnson says that Crystal Rain Forest is so motivating that 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students always ask for it when they use computers during their free time. Students in these grades also control the Roamer turtle robot, which reinforces sequencing, angles, estimation and other skills developed by Crystal Rain Forest. This leaves them well prepared for Logo programming and building Lego robots, which they approach enthusiastically with the technology skills they have developed.
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