Learn to Code with Scratch

The easiest way to learn to code with scratch is to attend a coding club. That’s why English Teacher Online created this page just for you!

Simply click on this link to join coding club at Srithammarat Suksa EP.

We meet in the library at 2.30pm every Thursday. See you there!

Coding Club in the Library

Play Yahtzee In Math Games Club

This year English Teacher Online is going to teach you how to play Yahtzee in Math Games Club.

Our mission is to help students improve their basic math skills by playing games that involve quick thinking, strategy and English communication in a fun way.

We will meet up to learn, make and play new math games that help you get better at math.

What Is Yahtzee?

Yahtzee is a strategy game you can play using 5-six sided dice and a score card. You can download the score cards or make your own.

How to Play Yahtzee

The aim of Yahtzee to get as many points as possible. You roll five dice and collect certain combinations to score points.

Each turn, players may throw the dice up to three times. You don’t have to roll all five dice on the second and third throw of any round – you may save dice to the side and only throw the ones that don’t have the numbers you are trying to get.

For example, if you throw 1, 3, 3, 4, 6, you may decide to try and collect the high straight, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. So, you put the 1, 3, 4 to the side and only throw 2 dice again, hoping to get 2 and 5.

If you decide after the second throw in a turn that you don’t want to keep the same dice before the third throw, then you can pick them up and roll them again.

After the third throw, you must add a score into your score card.

How Does The Score Card Work?

There are two sections on the score card, the upper and lower section combinations. You may place a score in each section only once per game, but you may place them in any order according to when you get them.

What Are The Upper Section Combinations?

Ones: Get as many ones as possible.

Twos: Get as many twos as possible.

Threes: Get as many threes as possible.

Fours: Get as many fours as possible.

Fives: Get as many fives as possible.

Sixes: Get as many sixes as possible.

For the six upper combinations, the score for each of them is the sum of dice of the right kind. For example, if you get 2, 3, 3, 3, 6 and you choose ‘Threes’ then you will get 3 x 3 = 9 points.

The sum of all the above combinations is calculated and if it is 63 or more, you will get a bonus of 35 points. On average, you need three of each to reach 63, but it is OK to have five fours and zero ones for example. As long as the sum is 63 or more the bonus will be awarded.

What Are The Lower Section Combinations?

Three of a kind: Get three dice with the same number. Points are the sum of all dice (not just the three of a kind).

Four of a kind: Get four dice with the same number. Points are the sum of all dice (not just the four of a kind).

Full house: Get three of a kind and a pair. For example; 2, 2, 5, 5, 5 or 1, 1, 1, 6, 6. Scores 25 points.

Low straight: Get four dice in sequence, 1, 2, 3, 4 or 2, 3, 4, 5 or 3, 4, 5, 6. Scores 30 points.

High straight: Get five dice in sequence, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. Scores 40 points.

Chance: You can put anything into chance. It’s like a free go when you don’t have anything else you can use the dice for. The score is the sum of all the dice.

Yahtzee: When you get five of a kind you should shout, “YAHTZEE!” and scores 50 points. You can get multiple Yahtzees, see below for details.

What Are Multiple Yahtzees?

You get 50 points for your first Yahtzee but 100 points for your second Yahtzee. Each additional Yahtzee gets you another 100 points.

Strategy Tips

Try to get the upper bonus first.

Focus on getting good throws with Fives and Sixes, then it won’t matter if you put 0 in the Ones or Twos.

You can always put 0 for a combination if you don’t have it, even if you have some other combination.

For example, if you had 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but the only things you had left were Ones and Fives, then it would be better to put 0 in Ones than to put only 5 in Fives.

Good luck and have fun getting better at Maths.

Get Excited by STEM

Do you find Science, Technology, Engineering and Math a bit too much or do you get excited by STEM?

English Teacher Online thinks that one of the best ways to teach students about STEM is through the use of robots.

Robots are fun and exciting for children because when you think of robotics, you might think of your favorite cartoons or superheroes. Learning how to build and use robots is a logical way to teach STEM skills to children.

Robot kits start from only 400 Baht. The Solar Robot 7 in 1 Space Fleet is a great first time robot kit to get children interested in robotics. It’s an innovative solar powered science kit to build 7 different space vehicles. The kit includes a Space Station, Robot Rover and even a Space Dog, all powered by either a solar panel or micro rechargeable battery.

This video explains how the Solar Robot 7 in 1 Space Fleet will keep your child engaged and happy for hours.

 

Robots can give you a real head start in subjects like computer programming, math, and science. It can spark an interest in careers that you have never considered before.

Robots teach more than tech skills!

Robots develop problem-solving skills and get people working together.

Problem-based learning inspires creativity and critical thinking.

Students play with a robot and don’t think about the fact that they’re learning.

Robots can help people with disabilities.

Why not challenge your child with the power of robots and buy them one today? It’s a wonderful hobby that has the potential to turn into a career.

Robots are becoming a bigger part of everyday life. How do you think robotics will be used in the future?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section or email Steve@EnglishTeacherOnline.Org

How To Teach With Lego

Do you want your children to grow up loving science, technology, engineering or math (STEM)?

Want to give them the best chance to excel at school?

Learn how to teach with Lego and empower your children to build their own understanding in life.

The Science Behind How To Teach With Lego

This week English Teacher Online presents the science behind teaching with Lego. We begin with preschool, using different colours and shapes to build Lego vocabulary. We explain how simple 3 brick constructions can help your child develop STEM skills from a very early age. Finally, we explore some of the fun sets that are out there to keep young engineers happy for hours.

WARNING! How To Teach With Lego

With close supervision, many two-year old children can learn with Lego. Use the larger bricks to teach your child how to play safely. Keep the smaller pieces of Lego well away from children’s ears and mouth!

Listening and Building Vocabulary With Lego

Before you do anything technical with Lego, you will need to teach some vocabulary. Children learn listening skills first so mention the colours and shapes while your child is feeling and playing with the Lego. Build a tall multi-coloured tower together and laugh as it all falls down – or not! Most early learning is about developing motor skills through play.

Teaching Colours With Lego

Within the play you can introduce some fun educational songs like the rainbow song. Place these 7 coloured bricks in front of your child.

Red, yellow, pink, green, purple, orange and blue.

Pick each brick up as you say the word – your child will learn to associate the colour with its word. Place the brick down before picking up the next coloured brick and saying that word too. If you can’t move your hands fast enough to pick up the bricks, then just try pointing as you sing the song slowly.

 

The Rainbow Song

Red and yellow, pink and green,

Purple and orange and blue,

I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow,

Sing a rainbow too?

Singing the song a few times every day, in short 5 to 10 minute lessons, will help your child associate colours with words in a fun way.

Check For Comprehension

Ask a question like, “Can you point to the yellow brick?”

Say, “Well done” and “Good job” (clap and smile) when they pick the correct object (the yellow brick).

Say, “Try again” (shake your head) when they point to the wrong brick.

Remember that no speech is expected while the child is working on listening skills. We are building vocabulary in preparation for speech. If you want your child to become fluent in English, let speaking come naturally.

Teaching Shapes With Lego

As you progress, introduce the shapes in pairs so your child can make
comparisons. Good starting pairs are, big and small, long and short, square and rectangle.

Don’t be too serious or expect your child to become a genius overnight. Be prepared for things to take time. Try to keep it light hearted and fun.

Through natural play your child should collect all the necessary vocabulary to develop their STEM skills.

Doctors Confirm How To Teach With Lego

Dr. Gwen Dewar says that we can use Lego in structured block playChildren try to build a shape by following a model or blueprint.

The child analyzes what they see, understands the parts that make up the whole and questions how the parts relate to each other. Really successful children are able to think quantitatively and are able to rotate geometric shapes in their mind. (Casey and Bobb 2003).

Give your child 3 Lego bricks and ask them to reproduce this design:

It not as simple as it looks. Dr.Dewar explains what the child must do to succeed. If an error is made in any of the steps below then the final result will not match.

First, the child needs to correctly choose three types of brick, one with 4 pips, one with 8 pips, and a third with 12 pips.

Next, they must attach the shortest brick so it sits perfectly aligned to one edge of the longest brick.

Finally, the successful child attaches the medium-sized brick to the other end of the longest brick. They must recognize that it hangs out over the edge so that two pips of the medium-sized brick are not resting on another object.

Only 40% of three year old children are expected to match the design perfectly. For more complex patterns, the completion rate goes under 10%.

Conclusions also indicate that performance isn’t just a question of age. It also depends on experience. Adult scientists and engineers frequently say that construction toys inspired their careers.

My own cousin told me that Lego was his introduction into a world of
communicating ideas with physical objects. Putting things together and taking them apart got him interested in how things work and he always knew he would be an engineer.

Teaching Fractions With Lego

Using Lego makes math fun for learners who need to model math and picture it.

Blocks are great for teaching fractions because the blocks are easily recognizable as a whole. You can use different coloured bricks to represent different parts of the fractions.

Make a tower using 10 red bricks and explain that 10 ÷ 10 = 1 whole one. Now make another 10 brick tower with 10 different coloured bricks and explain that each brick is equal to one tenth of the whole one tower.

Ask your child to construct similar towers using coloured bricks to represent fractions like 4/5 or 3/7. Lego is an amazing tool to teach math.

 

Why And How To Teach With Lego Conclusions

1. Lego boosts children’s motor development.

2. Allows kids to think in three dimensions.

3. Provides tools that develop lateral thinking in a fun environment.

4. Encourages creativity.

5. Develops problem-solving, organization, and planning by construction.

6. Enhances communication and critical thinking.

7. Improves literacy as kids work with instructions.

 

If you like this page, you may also like, Fun Things To Do On School Holidays. Please let us know what you think in the comments section.

Singapore Method Math Tutor

A parent recently asked me to find him a Singapore method math tutor for his daughter. He said that he wanted her to get ahead in that subject and become fluent in English too. I offered to help and then decided to write this article to explain why the Singapore method of teaching math is best.

Like all academic subjects, no one is born with mathematical ability. Singapore has a strong belief that “effort” is the human characteristic that makes kids “smarter” at math.

Effort is a choice

As humans with free will, we can choose to either work hard or not. But giving effort when the method is flawed may not make us smarter at math. So we need to control the method too. When we use a sound method and choose to give full effort, we start to take control of whether we become smarter at math or not.

“Children usually give full effort when they play – which is probably why the Singapore method is so popular with students.”

In the 1980s, Singaporean schools developed a curriculum that focused on fewer topics but studied them in greater detail. Students learnt how and why equations worked. They refined problem solving skills using pictures and diagrams. To understand why this is important when teaching math, we need to remember how we learnt in kindergarten.

Early Learning

Kindergarten math starts with blocks, numbered cards, or counters like on an abacus. These are concrete objects that young learners can touch and feel in playful tactile discovery.

Later, when we went to primary school, many of us were expected to study equations such as 1 + 2 = 3. As easy as this seems to us now, it is abstract and rather difficult for young children to grasp.

The Singapore method added a “pictorial” stage, as a bridge between the concrete and abstract stages of learning.

Based on the work of Jerome Bruner’s Constructivist theory, Singapore’s curriculum developed a system of teaching that makes learning easier because it focuses on understanding how and why! Students start with hands-on group activities with concrete objects like buttons or dice. Then students learn the pictorial stage, drawing pictures of these same concrete objects before moving onto the abstract equation stage.

It is really important that each stage of development constructs new ideas or concepts based upon current/past knowledge. If the students started counting coins or buttons in stage 1, then they should open the book and see coins or buttons in stage 2. Only in stage 3 will the abstract appear and build on what was learnt in the concrete and pictorial stages. If stage 2 is neglected, then understanding at the stage 3 level could be underdeveloped.

In the Singapore method, this 3 stage approach, of concrete – pictorial – abstract, is not abandoned after kindergarten but kept alive throughout primary and secondary education. We know that children need to play in order to learn. By making math fun we are able to help them understand why things are.

4th Grade Fractions Example

The traditional way of teaching fractions was to learn a method and do lots of practice. Teachers didn’t always explain why the method worked, maybe they couldn’t, they simply barked instructions!

Do you remember being told to just multiply the top numbers together, and then multiply the bottom numbers together?

Thus ½ x ½ = ¼

Having been taught this method, students often knew how to find the correct answers but they didn’t know why. This caused major problems later on in school life, when equations became more difficult.

The Singapore method teaches children “why” by adding a pictorial stage. Think of a whole one as a circle or a whole pizza. Pizza is a concrete object that we all understand. If there is 1 pizza for 1 person we have 1/1 or one whole pizza each. If we share 1 pizza between 2 people we have half each, we need to cut it with a knife to get half a pizza. Students draw a complete circle to represent the pizza and cut it in half. To multiply ½ x ½, students know they must cut the half circle in half again. They are left with two quarters and a half pizza.

The pictorial pizza stage builds on the concrete pizza stage. When the students understand why ½ x ½ = ¼, they begin to master the abstract stage 3.

Common Core Standards

New textbooks have been introduced which align with Common Core standards. Unlike the old approach, where material appeared in a spiral, each skill set in the new curriculum is a foundation for future lessons. Schools are now opting into the Singapore method of teaching math.

“As a teacher it’s easy to see the appeal. For parents however, it is not always straight forward.”

The main reason parents stumble over these phrases is because schools are switching over from old methods of problem-solving to new ones. I learnt concepts like “carrying and borrowing” when doing addition and subtraction problems. Students today are learning concepts like “regrouping.”

Let’s look at some other vocabulary and then watch a video.

Singapore’s 7 Step Solution Strategy
  1. Read the problem carefully.
  2. Determine the variables, who and what?
  3. Draw the unit bars.
  4. Break down (chunk) the word problem, re-read it and adjust the unit bars to match.
  5. Place the question mark.
  6. Write the number sentence and solve it.
  7. Write a grammatically correct answer.

 

Special thanks to Amy Cantone for making this educational video.

If you need an online tutor please email: steve@englishteacheronline.org