Children's Innovation Project focuses on children's access to the thinking of technology, not the stuff of technology. Working at the grain of technology with both raw component materials as well as logic systems of technology, children are able to make connections between what they see/don't see and find new ways to talk about and deepen their understandings of systems. Our learning progressions are designed so all children can become fluent with technology and express their ideas. We have designed explicit language-logic constructs from the logic of technology to support children in their developing practice with precise language and understandings of systems.
Circuit Blocks allow a concrete and visual system for children to see component parts in relation to a whole circuit and identify connections between components in order to talk about how/why things happen or do not happen. The method of observational drawing and use of schematic and symbolic language further support children in their ability to understand and communicate ideas.
do ---> happen
Children's Innovation Project's DO--> HAPPEN construct supports young children's development of cause--> effect logic and language. Children are encouraged to name DO and HAPPEN components in toys, circuits and other systems, and then describe what they DO to make HAPPEN. For example: "I push the arm of the knife switch down and then the light goes on" or "I slide this switch and the music happens through the speaker." DO--> HAPPEN logic is a scaffold that supports more complex thinking about input--> output systems.
same - different
We use Venn Diagrams to support children's practice with seeing and naming aspects that are the same and/or different between two parts, whole systems or ideas. We also use a physical scaffold of pushing hands together or spreading arms out wide to show same or different. This supports children's development in both their thinking about same-different, as well as their precision of language when talking about materials and ideas.
part - whole
Children practice naming parts in relation to a whole and in relation to other parts and other wholes. It is important for children to have multiple opportunities to see how things fit together and how they can be rearranged in different ways. We support children's language in naming parts and wholes through exploration with electronic toys, household devices, and other systems and ideas. For example, children may first see a screw as part of a whole system, but through careful noticing, they may begin to see a screw as a system with many parts (threads, tips, shafts, heads). Children's Innovation Project gives opportunities for children to understand the complex and shifting relationships between part-whole in all materials and ideas.
As children begin to understand how parts and relationships they can see and can touch are working, they begin to use their understandings of logic to describe, imagine and understand how parts and relationships they can't see and can't touch might be working. In this way, children develop an appreciation for not knowing and a deeper curiosity and confidence to explore the unknown.
Through Children's Innovation Project, children grow to understand the importance of sequence as part of logical systems, growing from simple order relationships to more complicated relationships in computational thinking and input-output systems.