Math Exploration Through the Use of Dash & Dot

What are Dash & Dot?

Introduction:

This project started when a small but mighty group of Primary French Immersion teachers took a risk! Inspired by seeing the things Heather Simpson (@mshsimpson1) was doing with her primary class, our goal was to see if we could promote math conversations and deepen conceptual understanding of mathematics through the use of the Dash and Dot robots in French Immersion as well. This website is a result of their work and is a place to share their trials, tribulations, learnings and ideas with others.

Coding:

What is coding and why is it important?

Coding is all around us, whether you are searching Google, or using the navigation system in your car. If it needs to be plugged in, then it probably uses code or computer programming. Code is a precise set of instructions that a computer can understand.

"Code powers our digital world. Every website, smartphone app, computer programme, calculator and even microwave relies on code in order to operate. This makes coders the architects and builders of the digital age.

Over the next 10 years it is estimated that there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer sciences and only around 400,000 graduates qualified to do them." What is Coding by Space

Every coding activity involves math and language. Students need to be able to read the code and figure out what order or sequence the codes need to be in. Almost every line of code involves math. The distance the robot needs to move, the direction it will go, the degrees it will turn on an angle, and all the variables in between.

The open-ended nature of coding encourages creativity. Students want to create new and harder challenges. They don’t fear making a mistake, because they receive immediate feedback from which they learn and improve their skills.

In addition to this, coding promotes problem-solving, perseverance, grit and collaboration!

Goal of the Project:

The goal of this project was to empower our teachers by helping them find the connections as to how Dash & Dot can be used to support the Math Curriculum in a variety of ways. We wanted them to leave being able to confidently use the robots and willing to take the risks to get started in their own classrooms. Finally, we wanted teachers to feel comfortable sharing their learning with others.

What We Learned

Engagement

  • Students will become experts and teach you
  • The more time given to explore, the more they become familiar and comfortable
  • Students are extremely engaged when using the robots, even those who can be difficult to reach
  • Students think they are playing and don't realize they are learning

Opportunities for Cross-Curricular Learning

  • Tasks can be created for all five Math strands
  • Tasks can be created for multiple Language strands
  • Tasks can be tied to Social Studies and Science

Critical and Creative Thinking

  • Students can demonstrate creativity by creating their own games and extensions
  • Creates opportunities for students to collaborate and problem-solve together
  • Allows for authentic problem-solving opportunities
  • Students receive immediate feedback and are able to adjust their thinking based on how Dash and Dot respond to their code

Easy to use

  • Completing the puzzles in Blockly will help teach coding skills
  • Didn't require a lot of time to set-up and teach students how to use
  • Students learned quickly and became independent users