David Taylor, Deputy Head of Belmont C.P School, Grantham, spent a years secondment with East Midlands Electricity. He worked in the Business Services Unit, spending a lot of time working with schools in the East Midlands Area. Here he reports on his work.
Since April 1992, I have been developing a package of written materials for schools, essentially focussing on technology and in particular control technology, during my time with "The team you can trust"!
This process has involved, amongst other things, the trialling of the materials during the Autumn term 1992 in a selection of schools in five counties. A number of those schools wanted to try activities which involved the use of programmable machines such as Roamer. However, it soon became obvious that experience with Roamer ranged from nil to several years; that some schools were introducing it as a useful tool for Y8, whereas others used it for activities with Y2 and Y3 children.
It therefore emerged that I was correct in my initial thoughts that activities involving the use of Roamer should be part of a developmental process aimed at addressing the control technology needs of AT 5 of National Curriculum Technology, building upon experiences a little at a time. For this purpose and for those who expressed a specific need, I produced some introductory activities, enabling familiarity with Roamer and its basic functions.
Moving on from this, I introduced activities which would involve cross-curricular elements of Technology, Information Technology, English and Mathematics. One of the most popular of these was a simple development of a "Treasure Island" activity, which was used by age groups as diverse as Y5 and Y8. One Y5 group in particular' spent a lot of time on the work, disguising Roamer beautifully as a pirate for his raid on Island 1 and spending a lot of time in discussion and activity on the music needed for taming the animals on Island 2.
I found Roamer an altogether exciting and flexible machine especially when used as part of a range of control activities including on-screen work and computer control. Its capabilities can be further extended with the introduction of the Roamer control box.
"My thanks especially to Pat Peel and children, Long Whatton CP School, Loughborough."
A variation on this theme has also been used with great success. The four islands are cut out and stuck to the floor. The last island has a grid of 30cm squares drawn in it. These are lettered horizontally and numbered vertically. The clues to where the treasure is are to be found on the first three islands which have to be visited in turn, and activities completed.
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