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If you see students running down the hallways at The Charter School at Waterstone, they may be in the middle of a math lesson. The school is the first in the Miami-Dade area to use Unruly Splats, a STEM education tool that helps teachers combine coding and active play in subjects like math, science, PE, and even music.

Unruly Splats look like big, colorful floor buttons that students stomp on to light up, make sounds, and collect points. Using an iPad or Chromebook, students can code them to create games like relay races, whack-a-mole, or games of their own design that promote movement and collaboration.

“We look for ways to teach that make the content so engaging that there are no other distractors; the content is the distractor,” said Kelli Barrios, Assistant Principal at Waterstone.

“Unruly Splats are a tool for us to engage students in the content at hand, whether that’s coding, math, or any other subject.”

Ms. Barrios brought Unruly Splats to the school in August 2020 with a goal to put STEM and engagement front and center in every class. Teachers like Veronica Estrada, an instructional math coach, now use Unruly Splats to inspire movement and active competition in their lessons, all while introducing them to coding concepts.

“Gamification makes learning engaging and makes it easier for students with disabilities or special needs to participate,” said Estrada. “Learning with Splats gets students moving, which is great for kinesthetic learners, and taps into students’ competitiveness so that they can’t help but pay attention,” said Estrada.

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The Charter School at Waterstone now has 120 Unruly Splats that teachers use across grade levels to help improve engagement in a variety of creative ways:

● Math: to practice addition, subtraction, and multiplication, students run to the Splat and stomp on the correct answer to a problem.

● ELA: to engage students in spelling, students jump on the Splat that is associated with each letter of the alphabet.

● PE: to combine physical education and coding, students play relay races with the Splats.

“Right now, schools are placing a priority on getting students out from behind computer screens, moving and collaborating together,” said Bryanne Leeming, Founder and CEO of Unruly Studios, the maker of Unruly Splats. “We’re working with Veronica to create lessons with Splats that teachers across the country can use to infuse math curriculum with joy, silliness, and physical activity.”

Unruly Splats help schools fulfill a range of high-priority objectives including:

• Hands-on teacher training and support: School memberships come with lesson plans developed by teachers and ongoing bite-sized professional development opportunities to ensure teachers are empowered to incorporate STEM into their classrooms.

• Cross-curricular coding: A Gallup study found that 73% of principals believe that computer science is just as important as offering core subjects like math and English. Unruly Splats allow teachers to incorporate coding into any subject, including PE, general education, science, and even music!

• Recess-like play combined with STEM: The games kids play with Unruly Splats encourage physical movement, helping to combat a decades long drop in active play for children.To learn more, www.unrulysplats.com.

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