Using WeDo 2.0 Across the Curriculum

10 Topic Teaching Opportunities

It has never been more important for school’s to get everything they can possibly get out of their chosen educational resources. When the budget comes in and the catalogue comes out, a budget stretching jigsaw puzzle begins to be constructed. We can buy that if we don’t buy this. We can get more of those if we get less of these. We can’t buy that all together! This mind-boggling budget battle can be beaten. Ultimately, any and every resource must be seriously analysed for its usability. The question is, how much can we get from this?

LEGO® Education WeDo 2.0 kits can offer more than you might think. Of course, the main reason for a WeDo 2.0 kit’s existence is to provide meaningful Programming and Computing experiences. However, the functionality and usability of the technology can have an enhancing baring on all sorts of curriculum areas. Integrating the WeDo 2.0 into wider planning can enrich the curriculum and deepen a learners understanding of any given topic.

Amazingly, LEGO® Education offer an unparalleled amount of free lesson plans and resources. As part of this, they have released a 42-page Teacher Guide on Computational Thinking and 24 Guided/Open Projects available on the WeDo 2.0 app. I know what you’re thinking… Who has the time to read through a 42 page PDF and 24 digital projects? As much as we would like to widen our understanding of using WeDo 2.0, we would never find the time to get through it all.  

Not to worry! We’ve had a go at filtering through the fantastic free resources for you! In this blog, I will look at common Primary Teaching Topics and explain how the WeDo 2.0 can be integrated into them in a meaningful way. I’ll point you directly to the Guided/Open Projects you’ll need to visit and essentially, explain how you can get the most out of your technological resource.

1) Space

Exploring the deepest reaches of our galaxy can be an incredibly immersive experience. Imagine adding the experience of building a Moon Base with your own robot!! With WeDo 2.0, you can. Guided Project 17 (Moon Base) takes the children through how to build and programs their own Moon Rover that can complete simple building tasks. The links to science and mathematics are obvious. However, this stimulus could be the platform for historical space race learning. It could spur on some creative writing. Before you know it, the classroom can become a moon base!

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2) Dinosaurs

Another widely embedded topic concentrates on Dinosaurs! It can capture most children’s imaginations. The Open Project 11 (Extreme Habitats), explores the exceptional environmental of the Jurassic era. Children can use WeDo 2.0 to explore how the ancient reptiles evolved to survive. Using the Programming to spur on Geographical study and Biological understanding can provide another angle for a teacher to tackle the subject with.

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3) Recycling

Recycling can be a hard subject to teach. LEGO® Education have provided you with an interesting route into the topic. Through Guided Project 8 (Sort to Recycle), learners can explore how rubbish is sorted to aid in reducing the amount of waste that is discarded by building and programming their own sorting machine. The scientific and mathematical links are fairly obvious, however, engaging in this task will also have a barring on PSHE. The question of ‘why’ it is important to recycle can bring up all sorts of important discussions about society and citizenship.
 
 

4) Toys

Early on in Key Stage One, children will no doubt learn about toys. Whilst, I feel that anything you do with LEGO® would fit within this topic, the WeDO 2.0 kit can offer a more directly relatable task. Within the ‘Getting Started’ projects on the app, children can have a go a Milo’s Tilt Sensor. This is a very simplistic task that will see the children build a basic robot (Milo) and make it move with a ‘tilt sensor’. The result is a roaming robot that functions like a remote control car. In turn, this could be a spring board for conversations about old and new toys; the science of speed and friction; simple instruction tasks as well as the obvious mathematical links.
 
 

5) Natural Disasters

Amazingly, the WeDo 2.0 kit can provide meaningful educational experiences around the Topic of Natural Disasters in many different ways. Guided Project 3 (Robust Structures), enables the children to build earthquake simulators. Guided Project 6 (Preventing Flooding) gives the children a detailed understanding of how to reduce the impact of water erosion. Guided Project 7 (Drop and Rescue) gives valuable insight into how rescue teams deal with the aftermath of a Natural Disaster and drop materials into a dangerous areas. Open Project 13 (Hazard Alarm) and Guided Project (Volcano Alert) do exactly as you would imagine. Picking any of these projects can have meaningful links to Science, Geography and History as well as providing further awareness about the harsh reality of Natural Disasters.
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6) World War Two

The Second World War provides an enlightening backdrop for all sorts of learning. The WeDo 2.0 can make a good contribution to the topic by adding some morse code into the mix. By programming the little light on the WeDo 2.0 and adapting the speed of the flashing via a lever, children can send communication signals. Guided Project 19 (Send Messages) guides the children through the task and teaches them how to dot and dash out letters. Children can use this stimulus to translate messages that were sent during the Second World War. The subject of communication can then be a platform for wider social discussions around freedom of speech and so on.
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7) Under The Sea

Another nice topic that many schools pursue revolves marine life. Learning about the unexplored depths of the sea can be enriched by Open Project 14 (Cleaning the Oceans). This project teaches children about the importance of keeping our oceans clean by tasking them to create a device that can collect rubbish from the surface of water. Again, the scientific aspects of this project are fairly apparent. However, mathematics plays an important role in the task. The device will have to size up the materials which will take a fair knowledge of shape and volume. Geography and Social Studies can also be meaningfully interwoven into this kind of project.
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8) Animals

Like the topic of ‘Natural Disasters’, WeDo 2.0 provides many opportunities for cross-curricular learning within the subject of Animals. Guided Task 4 (Frog’s Metamorphosis) teaches children about the life cycle of a frog through programming. Open Projects 9 and 10 (Predator and Prey / Animal Expressions) teach children about the relationships between animals and animal communication respectfully. Finally, Open Project 24 (Animal Senses) deepens a learners understanding of how animals perceive the environment around them. Ultimately, this kind of learning can provide a higher level understanding of animal biology. However, the subject has a baring on Geography as well.
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9) All About Me

Many schools opt to cover a very inward looking topic, often called, All About Me. Key Stage One (usually), think about themselves and in particular their emotions. What makes them happy and what makes them sad. Open Project 22 (Emotional Design) might just provide a platform for many children to begin expressing themselves. The project tasks children to build and program a robot that can interact with people. Through this, they will explore how robots can create positive emotions in everyday situations. This self-reflection has an obvious connection to PSHE but I would also say that it has a baring in Science as well as being a good platform for (even very young) children to discuss the advancement of technology within our world.
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10) Ancient Greeks

Finally, I want to visit the topic of Ancient Greeks. It’s widely known that the Ancient Greeks are responsible for some of the most fundamentally important inventions and discoveries of our time. Some of the deepest thinkers of science, mathematics and philosophy are associated with Ancient Greek History. It’s important to explain to children that programming is all about Problem Solving. Traffic Lights are programmed to solve the problem of traffic. Sat Navs are programmed to solve the problem of Navigation. I could go on. Inventing programs to solve problems is very similar to inventing devices or processes. Therefore, engaging children with a blank programming project and posing a problem is meaningfully linked to Ancient Greek thinkers. Can the children build a robot that moves an object from one side of the room to another? Can the children build a device that flashes at them every time someone walks into the room? Can they make a shutter that dispenses Hamster food to the classroom pet every hour? Being inquisitive and creative is the next logical step for any WeDo 2.0 use. Although all of the aforementioned projects incite creativity in some way, starting with a blank project demands the deepest thinking skills.
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The fact of the matter is, I have barely scratched the surface of what a WeDo 2.0 kit can do within the wider curriculum. There are many more Projects within the app that I haven't referenced. Whats more, the Computational Thinking Teacher Guide is available on the app to offer even more guidance. Ultimately, the far reaching flexibility of the opportunities associated with the use of WeDo 2.0 mean that teachers can quickly and easily embed the technology into any area of the curriculum. More importantly, the resource itself can prove it’s worth across an entire school in many ways. Don’t forget, the Primary objective of WeDo 2.0 is to empower children by giving them a comprehensive understanding of Programming and Computing. All of the other benefits are a bonus. It is an investment that is truly worth every penny from your resource budget.

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This post was written by our Primary Curriculum Specialist, Nick Acton. Nick is always keen to share and explore ideas around LEGO® Education and you can get in touch with him by emailing training@jtrs.co.uk
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