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Impact on Student

Learning:
An analysis of a robotics rotation sensor unit plan

Joel Andrew Bianchi

City College of New York

Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction in Mathematics


Education

EDUC 6401E

Prof. Randolph Ross

6 May 2009

1
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page
I. INTRODUCTION 2
School Background Information 2
Unit Plan Description 3
Unit Plan Standards & Instruction 4
Unit Plan Aims & Objectives 5
Sample Lesson Plan 6
Notes 7.0 [Teacher's edition] 7
II. ASSESSMENTS 8
Formal Assessments Table 8
Summative Assessments 9
III. ANALYZING& REPORTINGDATA 10
Whole Group Learning Levels 10
A. Class Scores by Assessment 10
B. Class Scores by Learning Objective 11
Group Learning Levels 12
A. by Gender 12
B. by Grade Level 13
C. by Ethnicity 14
D. by Previous Marking Period Grade 15
Individual Learning Levels 16
A. Jason R. 16
B. Stephane G. 17
IV. REFLECTION ON WHATI LEARNED 18
Success of Unit Plan on Student Learning 18
Learning Objectives 18
Assessment Items 19
Instructional Strategies 20
Assessment Data 21
Professional Development 22
Professional Learning Goals 22
Immediate Action Steps 23
Appendix A: Individual Student Performance
24
by LearningObjective
Appendix B: Rubrics for Assessments 26
Appendix C: Samples of Student Work 28

2
"Whether it's urban kids who can't go outside because it's too
dangerous or the overscheduled, overparented kids at the other
end of the spectrum--I'm worried that boys have lost the chance
to play and to explore."1
- Margaret Anderson, Vanderbilt University

I. INTRODUCTION
SCHOOL BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In an effort to improve the math and science scores at the Frederick
Douglass Academy – a college prep school in Harlem, NY, my principal
scheduled Robotics classes to be taught this year. In a class focusing
on active-learning, the focus shifted from instructing students with
hands-on activities towards students constructing the math and
science skills themselves.

FDA began in 1992 as a middle school with admission based solely on


an entrance exam, and has since grown to a 6th-12th grade school
which admits students from across the five boroughs based only
partially on students’ scores, parent interest, or chancellor
appointment. Last year, FDA had a 93% graduation rate, and a 91%
college placement rate.

The class in which the lesson was taught is my 7th period class, which is
composed of 28 9th-12th grade students. Many of the higher-performing
students in the school expressed interest in the course, but most of
these who were upperclassmen were enrolled in various AP classes.
The remaining upperclassmen are generally students simply needing
credit. However, the underclassmen appear to be a sample cross-
section of the school population. Other typical demographics include:
79% of the students are African-American and 18% Latino, and 55%
male, 45% female.

Research has shown that males lag behind females in math


achievement; Females are over five times less likely to enroll in
engineering;2 And even more frightening, in New York, white males

1
Von Drehle, David. The Myth About Boys. TIME Magazine. Thursday, Jul. 26, 2007
http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1647452,00.html

2
“Although women currently comprise 52% of high school graduates who enroll in four-year colleges in the
United States, they comprise only 17% of college freshmen who choose engineering as an academic
major.”

Takahira, Sayuri, Goodings, Deborah J, Byrnes, James P. Journal of Engineering Education, Jul 1998
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3886/is_199807/ai_n8796414

3
graduate on time at twice the rate of black males.3 Every student
besides one in the class is either black or Hispanic, which in a 2003
study measuring mathematics literacy4, these groups scored
significantly below the international average, while white and asian
students scored significantly above. Faced with the all of these
challenges, this class was designed to be part of a program at FDA
which seeks to close these achievement gaps – providing students with
opportunities to perform in areas in which their peers are typically
underrepresented.

UNIT PLAN DESCRIPTION

Each unit taught reflects the 4 disciplines of Science, Technology,


Engineering, and Math (STEM). There are no national or state robotics
standards, thus I use standards from the 4 disciplines to structure my
curriculum, specifically: NCTM, NYS Learning Standards, ITEA, and
NSES standards.

Students in a previous unit had constructed a basic robot, and last unit
had constructed a small manipulator arm to test the strength of the
motors used. This unit, we will explore one of the sensors they will use
with their robot – the Rotation sensor. The 7 Learning Objectives
chosen are categorized by which STEM discipline they are in and what
national standard they address.

The following table also includes the dates and instruction type for
when each standard and learning objective was taught.

Also included is a Unit Plan showing the Aims & Objectives for each
class day of the unit

3
The actual numbers are 76% for white males and 38% for black males. Also, the Schott Foundation
Report notes that “Black students comprise only 17% of public school students, but 41% of special
education placements, 85% of which are boys.”

Schott Foundation for Public Eduation. Public Education & Black Male Students: The 2006 State Report
Card http://www.schottfoundation.org/publications/Schott_06_report_final.pdf

4
International Outcomes of Learning in Mathematics Literacy and Problem Solving: PISA 2003 Results from
the U.S. Perspective. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2005/2005003.pdf

4
ROTATION SENSOR UNIT PLAN: STANDARDS & INSTRUCTION

Learning Objective Standard Instruction

STEM Oranizat Initial


Discipline Description ion # Description Date Type
Technology Understanding Digital ITEA The Designed Students will develop an understanding of and T 3/24 Notes
A Encoding World. be able to select and use information and
Standard 17. communication technologies.
Engineering Integration of Sensors ITEA Design. Students will develop an understanding of W 3/25 Lab
B into an Intelligent Standard 9. engineeringdesign.
system
Math Using conversion factors NCTM Measurement Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and T 3/24 Notes,
for appropriate units Standard formulas to determine measurements: Use unit Classwo
C
analysis to check measurement computations rk

NYS Measurement Solve problems involving conversions within


Strand. A.M.2. measurement systems, given the relationship
between the units
Science Calculating Angular NSES Physical Objects change their motion only when a net T 3/24 Notes,
Speed Science. force is applied. Laws of motion are used to Classwo
D
12BPS4.1 calculate precisely the effects of forces on the rk
motion of objects.
Science Understanding Motor NSES Physical Objects change their motion only when a net T 3/31 Notes,
Tradeoffs Science. force is applied. Laws of motion are used to Lab
E
12BPS4.1 calculate precisely the effects of forces on the
motion of objects.
Math Labeling and reading 2- NCTM Algebra Understand patterns, relations, and functions: T 3/31 Notes
F coordinate graphs Standard Interpret representations of functions of two
variables
NYS Geometry Identify and graph linear, quadratic, absolute
Strand. A.G.4. value, and exponential functions
Technology Using Programming ITEA Design. Students will develop an understandingof the W 4/1 Lab
Feedback Standard 10. role of troubleshooting, research and
G
development, invention and innovation, and
experimentation in problemsolving.
ROTATION SENSOR UNIT PLAN: AIMS & OBJECTIVES
DATE AIM OBJECTIVES (SWBAT…) Documents
T 3/24/2009 How can we easily measure 1. Describe the Optical Shaft Encoder Notes 7.0
the number of degrees our 2. Convert the data fromthe sensor into number of degrees of rotation
motor rotates? 3. Convert the data fromthe sensor into number of revolutions
4. Calculate the distance the robot travels given the number of rotations.
W How do we mount the 1. Mechanically secure the sensor onto the robot such that (a) the sensor's initial
3/25/2009 Rotation Sensor on our state is pressed, and (b) the sensor leads the robot's direction of motion.
robots?
R 3/26/2009 No Class/ Parent Teacher Day

F 3/27/2009 How do we show mastery of 1. Complete quiz satisfactorily Quiz #6: Rotation
our understanding of Sensors/ Review
rotation sensors? old quizzes/ Grade
M How can we use motor 1. Create a Motor Curve graph for torque and speed Notes 7.1
3/30/2009 curves in order to gather 2. Use the graph to find torque given speed
information for our robot 3. Use the graph to find speed given torque
designs?
T 3/31/2009 How can we experimentally 1. Setup an experiment to find the maximum torque of the motor A20 Assigned
find the maximumspeed of
our motor?

W 4/1/2009 How do we write a RobotC 1. Write a simple RobotC program Notes 8.0
programto find max speed 2. Use simple statements with the motor command and wait1msec command
of our motor? 3. Setup sensors
4. Use Debug Program to gain data

R 4/2/2009 How do we interpret the 1. Interpret data from programming A20 Due
data from our experiment 2. Calculate max speed given number from programming and time
and communicate the 3. Create a Motor Curve using experimental data
results?
F 4/3/2009 How do we assess our 1. Complete quiz satisfactorily Quiz #7: Max
understanding of our Speed
motor’s relationship of
speed and torque?
SAMPLE LESSON PLAN

This was the lesson taught on T 3/24/09. Please see the


attached notes sheet for students (and teacher’s edition).

Aim: How can we easily measure the number of degrees our


motor rotates?
Objectives: Students will be able to:

1. Describe the Optical Shaft Encoder


2. Convert the data from the sensor into number of degrees
of rotation
3. Convert the data from the sensor into number of
revolutions
4. Calculate the distance the robot travels given the number
of rotations.
Do Now [5 minutes]
1. When students enter classroom, hand them notes 7.0
2. Journal prompt: “When you walk down the street, how do
you estimate how far you have traveled?”
3. In summary, elicit 2 basic responses: external measures
(street signs) vs. internal measures (how tired your legs
are)
4. “Robots need to know how far they travel as well. Today,
we’re going to learn about how a robot uses a rotation
sensor to automatically know how far it’s gone.”

1. Mini-Lesson [5-10 minutes]


Elicit vocabulary answers from students. Explain sensor based
on vocabulary. Name students in classroom to role play each
piece of the sensor (ex. “How does Reggie, the robot controller,
get the information from Ivana, the sensor?)

2. Activity #1 [5-10 minutes]


Direct students to open up sensor and count slits. Give them 3
minutes.
Elicit answers through question and answer to questions.

3. Classwork [15 minutes]


On board, lead students through calculation for 180 slits.
Remind them to write down extra notes wherever they need to
remember.
Use a standard 4” diameter wheel for the distance calculations.
Give students remaining time to complete the other 2 examples
in class.
Walk around to assess level of understanding.
4. Wrap-up [10 minutes]
Have 2 students show work on the board.
Ask final question for understanding. “How could we apply this
sensor to the manipulator as well?”
ROBOTICS CLASS FREDERICK DOUGLASS ACADEMY MR. BIANCHI

NOTES 7.0 SENSOR PROGRAMMING: ROTATION SENSORS [TEACHER’S EDITION]

REVIEW: Parts of an intelligent system: SENSOR  PROCESSOR  MANIPULATOR


1. Definition:The sensors we have are called “OPTICAL SHAFT ENCODERS”:

“Optical” – there is a light in the sensor which shines through the slits inside
“Shaft” – a shaft or axle is placed in the middle of the sensor and will make the slit wheel rotate around
“Encoder” – the sensor counts the number of times the light alternates between reflection and no
reflection (each time the slit passes by. This number is sent in a numerical code to the robot’s controller.
2. Experiment: Open up the shaft encoder and look at the black disk with the slits inside:

Count the number of slits for 1 whole rotation of the wheel = 90 slits
a.
What are the number of degrees in 1 whole rotation of a wheel = 360 degrees
b.
So…. How many degrees does each slit represent? 4 degrees/ slit
c.
The robot’s controller will keep a count of every 4 degrees that the motor rotates
DRIVETRAIN APPLICATION:
3.

If the shaft encoder was put on your wheel, find the distance the wheel travels?

Optical Shaft # Degrees = # Revolutions Total Distance


Encoder Slit = =
Count
180 slits* 4deg/slit = 720 deg* 1 rev/360 2 rev*4Лin/1 rev =
180 720 degrees deg= 2 revolutions 25.1 inches
45 slits* 4deg/slit = 180 deg* 1 rev/360 1/2 rev*4Лin/1 rev =
45 180 degrees deg= 1/2 revolutions 6.3 inches
900 slits* 4deg/slit = 3600 deg* 1 rev/360 10 rev*4Лin/1 rev =
900 3600 degrees deg= 10 revolutions 125.6 inches

4. MANIPULATOR APPLICATION

On the manipulator, the Optical Shaft Encoder can be used to Count the number of degrees the
manipulator has rotated.
II. ASSESSMENTS
Students were assessed in a variety a of ways. The following table
shows how each of the 7 Learning Objectives were formally assessed:

ROTATION SENSOR UNIT: FORMAL ASSESSMENTS


Learning Objective Assessment
STEM
Disciplin Summati Summati
e Description Formative ve 1 ve 2
Technolo Understanding Lab Group A20 #5 Q7 #1c,
A gy Digital Encoding Check #4a

Engineeri Integration of Lab Group A20 Q7 #1e


ng Sensors into an Check
B
Intelligent
system
Math Using Classwork, A20 Q7
conversion Do Nows #6abc #4abc
C factors for #2-#5
appropriate
units

Science Calculating Classwork, A20 Q7 #4bc


Angular Speed Do Nows #6bc
D #2-#5

Science Understanding Class A20 #7b Q7


Motor Tradeoffs Questioni #5abcd
E ng,
Classwork
Math Labeling and Classwork A20 Q7
reading 2- #7ab #5abcd
F
coordinate
graphs

Technolo Using Lab Group A20 #5 Q7 EC


G gy Programming Check
Feedback
SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS

A mixture of learning modalities are employed throughout the unit for


instruction, and also for how the students are assessed as well. There
were 2 summative assessments used to determine student learning:

[See Appendix B for a rubric of the assessments. See Appendix C for


examples of the assessments with student work.]

SA1: ASSIGNMENT #20

The project (assignment 20) addresses kinesthetic learning (or


experiential learning). The 28 students were broken up into 6
different groups, with each group member having a clear role to
play whenever a group task was given. Roles included: “Project
Manager”, “Chief Mechanic”, “Chief Programmer”, “Materials
Manager”, and “Field-Test Manager”. Students in the group were
given a kit of parts to be used to attach a rotation sensor onto
motor to determine the motor’s “no load” speed. These are the
same motors they will be using later in the semester for their
competition

Learning objectives C&D are explicitly assessed in question 6,


while learning objectives E & F are explicitly assessed in question
7. Other learning objectives (A,B,G) would simply NEED to be
understood to actually get the correct data.

SA2: QUIZ 7

The written assessment addresses verbal learning (or didactic


learning). 50% of the content on the quiz was cycled material.
The rest related to learning objectives from this unit. Some
questions looked very similar to what the students had
completed on assignment 20, with the obvious difference that
they could not ask each other or me for assistance. Learning
objective G was asked as a verbal Extra Credit question, “After
your program is written and downloaded, what steps would you
take to get the value of the sensor?”
III. ANALYZING AND REPORTING DATA
WHOLE GROUP LEARNING LEVELS:

Overall the students in period 7 averaged a 71% on all of the


summative assessments.

The mean score for Assignment 20 was a 76%. However, this includes
six 0%’s because of work not completed. Thus the median was a high
96%. Students worked in groups on the assignment and often checked
with each other and me before handing the assignment in.

For Quiz 7, however, the students were not able to help each other out,
or have my assistance. The mean quiz score was 64%. This can be
explained by looking at the scores of a handful of the low performers
who dragged down the mean.
But because the Quiz included cycled material, a look at the
performance by learning objective will give a more accurate view about
what student learning occurred.

ROTATION SENSOR UNIT PLAN: SCORES BY


LEARNING OBJECTIVE

STEM
Discipli
ne Description Overall
Technolo Understanding Digital
A gy Encoding 74
Engineeri Integration of
B ng Sensors into an 74
Intelligent system
Math Using conversion
C factors for 71
appropriate units
Science Calculating Angular
D 68
Speed
Science Understanding Motor
E Tradeoffs 62
Math Labeling and reading
F 2-coordinate graphs 60
Technolo Using Programming
G 48
gy Feedback

Learning objectives A,B,C, D all scored over 65%. Notably, these were
the first learning objectives taught in the unit. Quiz 6, a formative
assessment, tested these learning objectives halfway through the unit.
Learning objectives E, F,G were taught the following days after Quiz 6.
Apparently, the lesson on T 3/31/09 was not as effective as it needed
to be. Students could not complete any tasks associated with learning
objectives E,F,G until they had already completed those for learning
objectives A,B,C,D. Thus, even the logical sequence of the content
favored the first 4 learning objectives.

There appears to be no discernible difference among how students


performed in the 4 STEM disciplines. The highest scoring discipline for
this unit was Engineering, which was probably the easiest to
understand given the kinesthetic approach to the unit.
GROUP LEARNING RESULTS

The students were categorized


on 4 different criteria.
Measures of central tendency
were calculated for the groups
in each criteria. Because the
class had a total of 28
students, t-tests were used to
determine if the differences in
the means were statistically
significant to a 95% confidence
level.

The charts shown for each


criteria show how each group
performed for each of the 7
performance learning
objectives taught in the unit.

A. GENDER:

Overall, females in the class outscored the males 73% to 69%.


This result was not statistically significant. However, a major
difference was seen in that males as a whole scored 11% less on
the assignment than females, due in large part to 5 males not
completing the paperwork necessary (as opposed to 2 females
not turning in the assignment).

While females outscored males on most of the learning


objectives. Boys outscored females by 13% on Learning
Objective B, which deals with the how sensors integrate into the
overall flow of information on the robot.

While males and females who turned in the assignment 20


generally scored highly, by observation, males seemed to be
more eager to perform the hands-on mechanics of the project.
Perhaps, this explains males outperforming on Learning
Objective B.

B. GRADE LEVEL:

Upperclassmen (11th & 12th grade students) significantly


outscored underclassmen (9th & 10th grade students) by 80% to
64% (t-value of 1.88).

At first, I considered that upperclassmen came into the classroom


with more previous knowledge than underclassmen because they
typically have taken Math A, or Integrated Algebra, and other
science classes. However, the discrepancy can best be
explained by seeing that every upperclassmen turned in
Assignment 20 while only 10 out of 16 underclassmen did. In
fact, underclassmen, averaged 7% higher on Quiz 7.
Even in comparison of Quiz values for those students who
completed Assignment 20 with those who did not, the 7%
advantage was not found to be statistically significant. Perhaps,
the best explanation for the difference between grades is simply
that underclassmen have less academic maturity (being
responsible to complete assignments).
C. ETHNICITY:

Although, the population sizes were quite disproportionate for


ethnicities, the results showed statistically significantly
differences between the scores of black students and latino
students (t=1.92). Interestingly, of the 5 latinos in the class, the
2 upperclassmen scored highly, and the 3 underclassmen scored
low. The primary difference is seen in missing work. However,
the quiz scores were still all low for latino underclassmen. One
student, Douglass, will come after school for extra help and do
quite well, but often gets frustrated in class if his questions
aren’t answered immediately. Madeline has attendance issues,
and is often unattentive. Lastly, Joshua entered the class in
February, is often late, but often stays after school to work on his
robot with the 2 upperclassmen latinos. I’m not sure if this data
is an anomaly, but will keep an eye on this now.
D. PREVIOUS MARKING PERIOD:

I also compared how students who did not score well the
previous semester fared against those who had. As expected,
the previous high performers outscored the low performers
75% to 63%. However this is only statistically significant at a
85% confidence level (t=1.29).

Both groups reached over 70% on Learning Objective A,


understanding digital sensors, which was heavily emphasized,
and both groups trailed below 70% on learning objectives E, F,
and G.
INDIVIDUAL LEARNING RESULTS

Two students were chosen from the class for a more in-depth analysis
of their learning results. Both students are senior males, with Jason R
performing on a high-level, and Stephane G on a much lower level:

A.JASON R.

Jason is a Senior, Domincan male from a single-parent home. He


has been going to FDA since 6th grade, and although FDA heavily
emphasizes college placement, Jason only in the spring of his senior
year finally took the SAT. His mother seems to care very much
about him, but does not push him academically. For his 7 official
semesters of high school, Jason just barely passed (65-70) on 22 of
his 28 core classes. He entered my class in September, became
interested in engineering and robotics, and earned his highest grade
by 20 points on his transcript of a 100. Starting in January, he
joined the school’s Robotics Team, and was its most dedicated
member.

Jason will be graduating on time, and only has half of a program.


He usually spends 4-5 periods per day hanging out in my classroom,
working on self-created robot projects and playing Pokemon on my
computer. Routinely, he helps out groups of students during “lab”
times in my classes.

For the Rotation Sensor unit, Jason had the 4th highest score on
summative assessments. His Assignment 20 was perfect, but he
missed a few points off his quiz, which actually disappointed me.
Looking at his quiz, Jason seemed to not fully understand learning
objective E. While many students struggled with this, I partially
blame Jason’s lack of interest because my teaching pace is not fast
enough for him at times. He’ll then begin quietly whispering to a
classmate or I’ll catch him working on an unrelated robotics project.

Jason certainly exemplifies the willing and able student. In order to


better guide his education in my classroom, I decided to make him
the Project Manager of the next group he was in, although, he
usually preferred to be the “Chief Mechanic”. Now, he has more of
a vested stake in the performance of his group mates. Also, I like
the fact that Jason likes to do extra work, and in the future, I will
look for side projects he can do that will also align with the current
learning objectives I expect him to master.

(I have been pushing Jason to finish his application to CityTech for


engineering, and also applying to the YearUp program, which helps
students with a poor academic record to gain skills as an assistant
in the financial field.)

B. STEPHANE G.

Stephane is a Senior, black male from a single-parent home. He


transferred to FDA from Martin Van Buren HS after his 9th grade year.
His C average grades dropped his first semester at FDA, failing 3
classes, and just barely 2 others. Gradually, his grades have been
improving, such that, all of his scores last semester were over a 70.

Stephane’s math and science scores have always been low, though.
He has taken 6 semesters of Math A, and finally passed the regents
last year after the AP Calc teacher took over what many deemed “the
toughest class in the school”. He failed Physics last year, and is still 1
credit short for graduation. He must pass either Living Environment or
Robotics in order to graduate in May. A guidance counselor gave
Stephane my class starting in February as a backup just in case he
does not pass Living Environment.

For the rotation sensor unit, Stephane completed both assessment, but
received a 64, the 3rd Lowest score for any of the students who
completed both. During the lessons, Stephane will sometimes raise his
hand often, and eagerly contribute to the group discussion. However,
other days, he will focus his attention in other social directions. I often
found him flirting with one of the girls in the group next to his.

Stephane scored low on all of the learning objectives. On his quiz, he


received extra credit on every question related to this unit, but
received full credit on no question. In particular, Stephane struggled
with using units in quiz calculations and on his assignment 20 graph.
This all indicates to me that he is making an effort, but is not fully
engaged during instructional times. However, the more kinesthetic
Assignment 20 was completed with minor errors on the motor curve.

Stephane flip-flops on being willing or unwilling, and his history with


math and science may have convinced him that he can never excel in
these areas. In order to help Stephane improve his performance, I
have tried having a graduation conversation with him. While he agrees
that he needs to try harder, he still is mentally falling back on Living
Environment as his last science credit. With his new group, I have
switched him far away from the girl he was flirting with, perhaps,
helping him focus more. And also, he was assigned to be the “Chief
Mechanic” role for his group, playing more on his natural strengths as a
learner. Stephane is a natural athlete (he has played some sport every
year), and I believe the large robotics competition which concludes the
semester should also provide him more motivation.

IV. REFLECTION ON WHAT I LEARNED

SUCCESS OF UNIT PLAN ON STUDENT LEARNING

After analyzing the data, there are many areas in which my role as a
teacher can be informed:

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:

The most successful learning objective was A, “understanding digital


encoding”. Not only was the the first objective taught, but probably
the best taught as well. Students were taking notes on the vocabulary
of the Encoder, and I had students role play different points along the
flow of information from the sensor to the robot’s controller. This was
also emphasized everytime the students were doing “lab” work. If
they didn’t understand how the sensor was sending values, most of the
other learning objectives would not have made much sense.

The least successful learning objective was G, “using programming


feedback”. This was the last objective taught, and also probably not
taught well. I had showed many students how to do this in previous
projects, and assumed that many would come into the unit with a
decent foundation for this. In fact, the day when the students were to
use this for their project, I tried to simply give a short explanation and
“how-to” before they began working. As I walked around the
classroom, I found myself reteaching this to every single group. Even
in my assessments, the questions weren’t very clear, and was treated
as Extra Credit. Many students didn’t bother trying it.

For Learning Objective G, I had planned on leading the students step-


by-step through the debugging process using my laptop and an lcd as
they followed along on their own laptops. This will probably be a better
way to teach in the future, and I plan on doing that lesson towards the
end of my next unit.
ASSESSMENT ITEMS:

The students were given two different summative assessments for this
unit.

For Quiz 7, the most successful items appeared to be the low-level


tasks: those involving memorization or procedures. Learning
Objectives A & B (question 1) were both assessed with fill-in-the-blank.
Learning Objectives C & D (question 4) were very procedural, and also
scored highly.

Question 5, which assessed Learning Objectives E & F, is a higher-level


question on Bloom’s taxonomy. Students needed to be able to actually
make the connections between the chart and what they had observed
in the “lab”. Also, question 5 was not formatted very well. The curve I
included came out very fuzzy on the copier, causing many students to
ask questions about the numbering of the axes. I ended up reading
the numbers aloud twice during the quiz so that they all could
understand. Also, the number for part D was accidentally not filled in,
thus I had to verbally tell the students to check for 1000 RPM. I’m sure
that these errors affected the students’ performance in some way.

One simple solution is to simply take the time to check the copies of
my assessments before handing them out. Taking the quiz while the
students are is a great way to catch errors, but taking the quiz before
the students do will minimize the confusion even more.

A more difficult issue is how to raise my students’ level of cognitive


demand. Later units highly stress Analysis, Synthesis, and Evaluation
as students design a robot without plans but based on their own
chosen strategy objectives for a particular competition. However, if
students struggle with understanding how fast the motor can spin, or
how much weight at a certain distance the motor can lift, or how to
overcome problems when their program isn’t working as they intend,
then how can they move onto analyzing, synthesizing or evaluating
these same designs? I often wonder how valuable it is to assess
students on lower levels of knowledge or simple application.

The other summative assessment, assignment 20, required students to


apply their knowledge in order to finish their experiment. The median
score for this assessment was 31% higher than quiz 7. Primarily,
students scored very well if they completed the assessment. Students
were given the opportunity to work collaboratively, and revise their
work before turning it in. I walked around the room while students
were working on their projects and calculations, assisting students with
their work. A motivated student could easily get over a 90%.

In the future, I still plan on assessing students in both ways: testing


and project. I believe this gives me a fuller view of what student’s
have actually learned.
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES:

A variety of instructional approaches were used for this unit. While it is


en vogue for a educational theorists to advocate a completely student-
centered experience in the classroom, I believe a teacher should strike
a balance between teacher-centered and student-centered instruction.

Many of the learning objectives were first taught using teacher-


centered strategies like a lecture while students take notes. Learning
objectives A,C,D,E,F were all introduced this way. Many of the learning
objectives were also instructed during review times for Do Nows and
during Quiz review. During these times, I could most quickly transmit
information to the students, or lead them in critically thinking about
applications of the content.

But the large benefit of the robotics class, is that student’s can
meaningfully construct their own knowledge for many learning
objectives. While learning objective B & G were the only ones
exclusively instructed this way, each of the other learning objectives
was re-emphasized in student-centered contexts. Classwork after
lecture times, Activites where students counted the slits in the sensor,
and of course, student’s writing their own code to collect their own
individual data, gave students a much richer understanding of the
every single learning objective.

I would say that learning objectives A,B,D,G were most influenced in


student-centered activities, but see no statistical pattern to claim one
strategy over another. In fact, on shortfall previously mentioned is that
learning standard G could have used a more direct teacher-centered
approach before the students began testing it out themselves.

One major point for consideration has been how to most effectively
manage group work, even on tasks that seem efficient usages of the
students time. As seen with learning objective G (and to lesser extent
E &F), students working in groups can more easily get away with not
doing the work they need to which will help them learn. In assignment
20, only 1 person in the group really needed to be able to “use
programming feedback”, in order for the group to move forward. As I
checked in on groups, I found that quite a few times, the 1 or 2 more
motivated students gave the less motivated students the data, instead
of having them discover it for themselves.

Smaller group sizes (2 students) would probably be a better group size


for this unit, as opposed to the 4-5 students I typically have. For many
units though, this poses a challenge because of the scarcity of
supplies. If I had to redo this particular unit, a whole kit of parts is not
needed for each group, and I would break each group in half.
ASSESSMENT DATA:

Aside from the formal summative assessments of Quiz 7 and


Assignment 20, there were multiple informal assessments used
throughout the unit, to help me gauge the progress of student learning.

Questioning was a key way for me to assess whether students were


understanding learning objectives A & B. When trying to lead students
down a certain logical path (i.e. from the abstract concept of the flow
of information towards the more concrete steps of calculating how far a
robot travels), I try to use questioning in a Socratic way. I try to call on
students randomly, so that I can get a feel for how the class as a whole
is understanding. Students who are not paying attention were called
out (i.e. if they asked “What was the question?”)

Also, during the Do Nows, students were given problems similar to


questions on Quiz 7. I chose students to show their work on the board,
which offered me an assessment of where certain students’
understanding level was.

The primary informal assessment I have been using is simply spending


time each class to check the progress of students work. During the
sample lesson, classwork was given for learning objectives C & D. I
was able to walk around then (as well as when the students were
completing a similar task for their assignment) to check student skills
in using appropriate units and calculating angular speed. This was also
used during Do Nows and Project time as well. I spent at least half of
my overall classroom time informally instructing and informally
assessing. This certainly gives me an opportunity to not only collect
data, but also to give students a form of differentiated instruction.

However, the “walkaround” approach has its drawbacks. First,


students who are absent are not getting the support they need, and
I’m usually only paying attention to who is there more than who isn’t.
Also, the day I taught learning objectives D & E, I ran out of time with
the class. Thus, not many of the students got feedback from me about
the classwork they were doing for that. I think this was a major reason
why student didn’t perform as well on objectives E & F.

Overall, I feel like I collected lots of informal data on student learning,


which was usually used directly to impact that individual student, but
improvements can be made. The following week, I gave my students a
rubric to assess each other’s skills as teammates, and in the resulting
discussion, Alaysia complained that I did not spend enough time with
each group, and was instead jumping from one group to the next
randomly and too quickly. The class voted that during “lab” days, each
group gets a devoted 5 minute block of time. I have begun employing
this, and will try to assess later its effectiveness.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

PROFESSIONAL LEARNING GOALS:

After completing this project, there are many new ideas I have to
improve my performance as an educator:

1. Develop a full robotics curriculum: The amount of thought


placed into this unit, and how I instruct and assess based on
learning objectives which arebased on standards was much more
developed than I have usually been planning. The course I am
teaching has no standard curriculum, but I hope to fully develop
one by formalizing what has been done and making the
appropriate data-informed changes.

2. Increasing my students comfortability level with higher-level


tasks: With this unit, I was trying to set a building block for
students to be able to use the Rotation sensor in future projects –
for them to be able to analyze whether to use it, to evaluate
alternatives between other sensors, etc. But to engage students’
mind requires much more than having them fulfill a list of
demands. Instead they need to become invested in their
education, and become eager learners of content. In other units,
(the end of the semester full robot design projects), I often see
this in my students. But in mid-semester units, I see a lag. I
would like to be able to develop mini-challenges for each unit
that draw out higher cognitive demand, instead of simply grand
experiments, so that students stay engaged the entire semester.

3. Improved Time Management: A major factor in dropoff in


student performance this unit on the last 3 learning objectives
was poor classroom time management.

4. Improve efficiency of collaborative work: With groups of 4-5, far


too often one student would carry the load for a specific
objective. I would like to implement more specific ways to hold
students accountable individually during times where
collaborative work is required.
IMMEDIATE ACTION STEPS:

These are a few of the steps I plan on taking immediately, to address


the professional learning goals:

1. Develop a full robotics curriculum: A full curriculum is not a


simple task. However, during the summer time, (my first year
not taking CCNY classes), I plan on consulting with other robotics
teachers, and writing detailed unit plans for each unit next year.

2. Increasing my students comfortability level with higher-level


tasks: One step I have begun in the next unit is simply raising
my expectations of what my students can accomplish. I did not
include many analysis and synthesis tasks in this unit, and will
include more in future units. Another step, is to create
meaningful diagnostics for learning objectives. This past unit, I
thought that a diagnostic would be useless, considering that
“every student knows how to multiply fractions and read a
graph”. Considering that every student in my class has already
passed the Math A or Integrated Algebra Regents, I had bet this
was a safe assumption, but some students still struggled with
this. I need better information at the beginning of the unit, so I
can better assist those students whose basic math and science
skills are lacking. Thus, they will be able to move on to higher-
level tasks.

3. Improved Time Management: Following Alaysia’s suggestion of


budgeting each group a certain amount of “Mr. Bianchi-time” at
the beginning of class appears to be a good step to ensure every
student is getting equal attention.

4. Improve efficiency of collaborative work: Immediately after this


unit, I gave students a rubric to assess the “teamwork” of their
group mates based on 4 different responsibilities for each
person. I let the students who were ranked the highest to choose
new teams in a draft-style, hoping this would give students more
of an incentive to be help their group out more, instead of 3
students waiting for the 4th to get the data.
Appendix A: INDIVIDUAL STUDENT PERFORMANCE BY LEARNING OBJECTIVE
The following is a spreadsheet used to evaluate how each student performed on each of the Learning Objective:

ROTATION SENSOR UNIT: INDIVIDUAL STUDENT PERFORMANCE BY LEARNING OBJECTIVE


STUDENT INFORMATION PERFORMANCE BY LEARNING OBJECTIVE
A B C D E F G Summat Summat Overall
G Et M ive ive Summati
G
e h P4 S S S S S S S Assess Assess ve
ra
Name n ni Gr A A A A SA SA SA A A SA SA SA SA A ment 1: ment 2: Assessm
d d ci ad 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 A20 Q7 ent
e er ty
e 5 1 5 1
100%
5 5 1 2 15 10 10 6 4 10 10 10 5 2 0 00% 0 00%
4
Douglass A 9 M L ## 0 0% 90% 45%
0 5 0 2 0 9 0 5 0 8 0 8 0 0 5
5 1 4
John B 9 M B ## 92% 96%
5 5 1 2 15 10 10 6 4 6 10 6 5 2 0 00% 6
3
John D 9 M B 55 0 0% 70% 35%
0 5 0 2 0 10 0 6 0 2 0 2 0 0 5
4 5 1
Monique E 9 F B 94 96% 98%
5 5 1 2 13 10 8 6 4 2 10 2 5 2 8 0 00%
5 1 3
Jenika F 10 F B 65 62% 81%
5 5 1 0 15 9 10 5 4 5 10 5 5 0 0 00% 1
1
Madeline F 9 F L 55 0 0% 22% 11%
0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 4 0 4 0 0 1
4 1
Benjamin G 11 M B L 94% 36% 65%
5 2 1 2 14 2 10 1 4 7 8 7 5 0 7 8
4 1
Stephane G 12 M B 72 96% 32% 64%
5 0 1 0 15 4 10 3 2 4 8 4 5 0 8 6
4 1
Anesia H 11 F B 55 82% 34% 58%
5 3 1 0 6 4 3 0 4 4 10 4 5 0 1 7
5 1 4
Tanya H 10 F B 95 84% 92%
5 5 1 0 15 10 10 6 4 10 10 10 5 0 0 00% 2
4 4
Peter H 9 M B 92 96% 88% 92%
5 5 1 2 15 10 10 6 4 8 8 8 5 0 8 4
4
Justin H 9 M B 55 94% 8 16% 55%
5 2 1 0 14 4 10 1 4 0 8 0 5 0 7
Nilima I 9 F A 74 5 0 1 2 15 4 10 3 4 4 10 4 5 0 5 1 2 46% 73%
0 00% 3
5 1 5 1
Shalonda J 11 F B 55 100%
5 5 1 2 15 10 10 6 4 10 10 10 5 2 0 00% 0 00%
4 1
Trinasia K 11 F B 78 92% 38% 65%
5 0 1 2 13 4 8 3 4 0 8 0 5 0 6 9
5 1 3
Alaysia M 9 F B 83 60% 80%
5 1 1 0 15 3 10 2 4 6 10 6 5 0 0 00% 0
2
Joshua M 9 M L 65 0 0% 48% 24%
0 5 0 2 0 7 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
2
Reynairis M 9 F B 78 0 0% 46% 23%
0 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 0 4 0 0 3
4 3
Maurice M 11 M B 92 94% 72% 83%
5 4 1 2 15 9 10 6 2 0 7 0 5 0 7 6
3
Ini O 9 M B 84 0 0% 76% 38%
0 5 0 2 0 8 0 4 0 6 0 6 0 2 8
4
Elias P 12 M L 65 92% 92%
5 1 13 10 4 8 5 6
5 1 2
Vaughn P 11 M B 84 42% 71%
5 2 1 2 15 0 10 0 4 10 10 10 5 0 0 00% 1
5 1 4
Jason R 12 M L ## 88% 94%
5 4 1 2 15 9 10 6 4 6 10 6 5 0 0 00% 4
5 1 3
Jamie R 11 F B 99 78% 89%
5 5 1 2 15 7 10 3 4 5 10 5 5 0 0 00% 9
4 3
Jeremey S 9 M B 55 96% 74% 85%
5 5 1 2 15 9 10 5 4 7 8 7 5 0 8 7
4 4
Andre S 12 M B 90 96% 84% 90%
5 5 1 2 15 9 10 5 4 6 8 6 5 0 8 2
5 1 4
Erica S 9 F B 98 90% 95%
5 5 1 2 15 10 10 6 4 6 10 6 5 1 0 00% 5
4
Shannice T 12 F B 55 90% 90%
5 1 15 10 2 5 5 5
1
8
0 21.1 16.6
3 19.84
# # 11 31 17 20 13 19 13 11 5 8 8
4
Total # # 0 90 22 36 3 4 9 97 82 0 6 0 0 9 9
3
2.
3
76% 0 64%
8
3. 3. 0. 1. 6. 7. 3. 2. 3. 0. 7
Avg 10 78 9 5 8 4 11 7 5 7 9 5 7 5 9 3 7 71%
Percentag 76
76%
64
64%
17
e 78% 79% 69% 79% 69% 75% 67% 75% 62% 73% 50% 70% 50% 79% %
% %
71%
INDIVIDUAL LEARNING
OBJECTIVE SCORE: 74% 74% 71% 68% 62% 60% 48% 71%
17 64
Mean 78% 79% 69% 79% 69% 75% 67% 75% 62% 73% 50% 70% 50% 79% %
1 76%
%
64%
71%
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 66
Median 78% 00% 80% 00% 00% 00% 70% 00% 50% 00% 60% 80% 60% 00% 0%
1 96%
%
66% 82%
1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 84
Mode 55% 00% 00% 00% 00% 00% 40% 00% 00% 00% 60% 00% 60% 00% 0%
1 100%
%
84% 92%

Std. 0 33%
24
24% 22%
31
Deviation 16% 34% 38% 34% 46% 35% 32% 36% 36% 36% 32% 33% 32% 34% %
%
Appendix B: RUBRICS OF SUMMATIVE
ASSESSMENTS
ASSIGNMENT 20 RUBRIC

Questi Point
on Description s
1-4 Assignment completed 20
5 Reasonable Values (which
resulted in a speed between
60 RPM & 140 RPM) 5
6 For each part:
Correct Work (-1 for no
units) 3
Correct Numerical Answer 1
Correct Units 1 15
7 Proper titles 2
Proper units 2
Proper numbering 2
Accurate curve 4 10
TOTAL 50

QUIZ 7 RUBRIC

Questi Point
on Description s
1 2 points each part 10
2 3 points each part
Arithmetic error -1
10
Conceptual error -1
No units/ wrong units -1
3 2 points each part
Arithmetic error -1
10
Conceptual error -1
No units/ wrong units -1
4 3 points each part
Arithmetic error -1
10
Conceptual error -1
No units/ wrong units -1
5 2 points each part
No units/ wrong units -1 10
Correct Numerical
answer 1
TOTAL 50

Quiz 7 Acceptable Answers:


1.
a. task main()
b. motor
c. optical shaft encoder (-1 for each missing word)
d. 2 or 3
e. Sensor, computer, program, or laptop
2.
a. 120 in*oz.
b. 40 oz.
c. Robot A will push Robot B because Robot A has more
pushing Force than Robot B.
3.
a. The sum of the torques is 0 in*oz.
b. 50 oz. * 4 in. = 200 in*oz.
c. 100 oz. * 6 in. = 600 in*oz.
d. 0 = 200 in*oz + 600 in*oz + (Torque of motor)
Torque of motor = 800 in*oz
4.
a. 1800 slits * (360 deg/90 slit) = 7200 deg
b. 7200 deg * (1 rev/360 deg) = 20 rev
c. (20 rev/40 sec) * (60 sec/1 min) = 30 rev/min
5.
a. ~350 in*oz
b. ~5000 – 6000 RPM
c. 3000 RPM
d. ~250-300 in*oz
Appendix C: SAMPLE STUDENT WORK FROM
UNIT PLAN
JASON R (ASSIGNMENT 20)
STEPHANE G.(ASSIGNMENT 20)
JASON R (QUIZ 7)
STEPHANE G (QUIZ 7)