Experiences, School

Coding and Making with the Gray Whales

Contributed by: Kitty Rea, Ms. Kitty's Harmony Road, https://www.harmonyroad.us/

Coding and Making with the Gray Whales

As part of the Tuft’s University Graduate Certificate Program in Early Childhood Technology, music teacher and KIBO Ambassador Kitty Rea developed a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) summer camp called Coding and Making with the Gray Whales. Kitty’s music school is located just south of San Francisco along the California coast in Half Moon Bay. Gray whales are regularly from there on their 12,000-mile round-trip migration from the nursery lagoons in Baja, Mexico, to the Arctic feeding grounds in the Bering Sea.

During the five full days of camp, students sang and played along to songs about the gray whale, KIBO and the engineering and design process; planned, designed and stocked a “Baja Bus” to take us on our imaginary drive and camping trip to Mexico; read books and watched videos about gray whales; experiments and practiced programming a KIBO; studied the migration route on a painted floor map and Google maps; made lagoons for the whales to feed and frolick during their 20-hour-a-day eight-week-long migration; measured and drew a lifesize baby whale (15 feet long) and momma (50 feet); built prototype baby whales from aluminium foil to learn about whale anatomy; created larger whales from paper mache; and finally programmed their KIBO with their whale on top to migrate from Baja to the Pacific Northwest. All successfully completed their migration and were rewarded with Goldfish snacks all aroud.

Campers earned “Expert Badges” in gray whales, engineering, programming, KIBO, kindness and, a teacher favorite, clean-up. Everyone went home with a design and information journal, their own lagoon, two whales and brains filled with gray whale facts and new coding skills.

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