Pittsburgh Public Schools summer programming gives students a BOOST from pandemic learning losses
Photo above courtesy of PINJ.
Addison Boehm, Kerria Scanlon and Tamia Day, all soon-to-be sixth-graders in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, had their heads bent over a laptop and a small robot made of Legos as they worked together on a recent morning in a classroom at Pittsburgh Langley K-8.
“You are in control, so you are telling him step-by-step how to move,” said Tyler Scheuering, the teacher instructing them on how to create coding to determine the robot’s movement.
Before they could make it turn right, left or backward, the students had to figure out what mathematical portion of a complete turn the movement would require. Scheuering posed this scenario: “If I’m facing forward and I do a full spin, it’s 360 degrees. What if I do a half spin? What is half of 360?”
After a few incorrect guesses by the students, Tamia opened her phone’s calculator and divided 360 by 2. “It’s 180 degrees,” she announced to the group. From there, the trio determined that it would take 90 degrees to make a perpendicular turn to the right or left and 45 degrees to make a shorter turn. They were then able to type their calculations into the coding on the laptop and watch the robot follow their commands.
The exercise was a math lesson designed to fill in the gaps of lost learning that students experienced during the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was part of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Summer BOOST program which was created last year specifically to address pandemic learning deficits.
“We launched BOOST last summer as an intentional response to serving students after the school closures and remote learning of 2020 and 2021,” said Christine Cray, director of Student Services Reforms at PPS.