Hummingbird Project 01

Brewer Middle School eighth-graders Addison Manske, left, and Karlie Leopard’s hummingbird project uses coding and robotics to depict a Hadrosaurus walking toward its eggs under the rays of a luminous sun in a miniature prehistoric South Carolina.

A dinosaur roaming through the Lakelands 85 million years ago might not have been a stretch.

Brewer Middle School eighth-grade ACTS students Addison Manske and Karlie Leopard’s hummingbird project uses coding, light sensors and a position motor to depict a Hadrosaurus walking toward its eggs under the rays of a luminous sun in a miniature prehistoric South Carolina.

The two eighth-graders described how there were not many dinosaurs in South Carolina during the Mesozoic Era because the state was predominately underwater at the time. A few spots in South Carolina did have land to allow for dinosaurs to roam and the Hadrosaurus would have been one of them.

Manske and Leopard’s project is one of many hummingbird projects that used coding, robotics and sensors to display an event in South Carolina’s history.

The project supports most of the state’s eighth-grade social studies standards and is a mockup of the state museum, according to Randy Creswell, Brewer Middle School social studies teacher.

“I just hope they get more an appreciation and understanding of their history,” he said.

Something Creswell and Debbie Leonard, instructional technology coach for the three middle schools in Greenwood County School District 50, highlighted was the coding and robotic requirements that students had to follow.

Aside from researching the history of the events they selected, students had to do coding on their computers so that their project would at least have one light and some form of movement.

Students used motors, dial sensors, light sensors and distance sensors to complete their projects. They started constructing their projects on Feb. 3 and had seven class periods to finish it.

“Children met me here at 7:30 in the morning to get busy on their projects before schools started, they were definitely engaged,” Leonard said.

Leonard noted how the students learned cooperation, collaboration, creativity, problem-solving skills and perseverance during the duration of this project because “coding is difficult.”

“They usually hit a wall and it takes them a little bit to get through that, but the cheers in the room when they get their coding to work and their project to move the way they wanted was phenomenal,” she said.

Woodfield Elementary fifth-graders came to Brewer Middle to see the eighth-graders projects and complete a scavenger hunt to learn about events in the state’s history that they may not have known beforehand.

“I think it’s important for them to see (the hummingbird projects) because it provides them hands-on experience and the opportunity to see what education can be,” said Catherine Miller, fifth-grade ACTS math teacher.

Beth Taylor, District 50 director of secondary education, thinks the project’s integration of technology and computer science with social studies is “pretty neat.”

“I think we are doing more and more of it, the teachers over time have really embraced the technology,” she said.

Taylor sees how teachers’ use of new technologies is being integrated more naturally into the curriculum and “it’s not something that we make the kids do, they are actually able to utilize it to improve what they’re doing in their presentations.”

“You can see they’re enjoying it, having fun and they’re very proud of what they have created,” she said.

Contact reporter Jonathan Limehouse at 864-943-5644 or follow him on Twitter @jon_limehouse.