Exploring Cybernetics in K-12 Classrooms with Scratch

J.C. Olabe, Xabier Basogain, M.A. Olabe
Non argitaratua:
Scratch@MIT 2014. Massachusetts Institute Technology, MIT Cambridge, MA, USA

Students learn how to solve the following problem using Scratch: "Create and animate a butterfly that has only the ability to fly and to detect collision with walls. The butterfly lives inside a greenhouse divided into 16 rooms. All rooms are connected to the adjacent rooms via open doors." The butterfly must be able to traverse all 16 rooms in the greenhouse. This problem is a cybernetics problem. Cybernetics, however, is rarely mentioned or studied in the classroom. Is it possible to create an accessible environment where children and young adults could explore the world of cybernetics? With Scratch it is possible to create such environment. Cybernetics is relevant to the study of systems (set of interconnected elements for performing a function, solve a task). The world in which we live is formed by systems: mechanical, physical, biological, social, abstract, natural and artificial systems, continuous, discrete, deterministic, probabilistic, etc. When K -12 students explore cybernetics with Scratch they: 1 – understand and develop the fundamental concepts of cybernetics, such as learning, adaptation, control, communication, and feedback. 2 – learn how to approach problems in other disciplines such as control engineering, biology, statistics and probability, vector geometry. 3 – learn how to solve complex problems (like the butterfly greenhouse) with simple, logical and complementary solutions that enable the student to structure simple and collaborative solutions to more complex problems. In this presentation we illustrate with 10 Scratch projects how Cybernetics is being introduced in the classroom. Scratch Studio:

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