Outdoor learning – QR codes (12/3/19)

In today’s final digital technologies input we were faced with the task of creating an activity based around QR codes. Prior to this input I had very little knowledge of QR codes (infact all I knew was you scan them and information pops up).  So I was happy to develop my understanding of QR codes and these are the 5 main facts I found :

  1. QR stands for quick response.
  2. A QR code is an ‘image-based hypertext link’
  3. QR codes are a type of two-dimensional barcode
  4. A QR code can store up to 7089 numbers compared to a standard barcode which can only store up to 30 numbers.
  5. A QR code can link to such things as a short bit of text, an audio recording, a website, a phone number, an email address, a map location or a calendar event.

After finding out some key facts about QR codes, our group began discussing and planning our lesson idea. We brainstormed a variety of ideas and then ultimately came to the decision of doing a maths based activity which developed the concept of money.  We decided that we were going to base our activity around a treasure hunt layout in which the children were given a shopping list and a £10 budget. We decided that our shopping list would consist of healthy items to promote the concept of healthy eating to the children. We also choice to write clear instructions above the shopping list to ensure that the children had a clear understanding of the activity and what was expected of them. This is our shopping list :

The children would be split into groups and given a starting location (e.g. the fridge) and they would then have to scan each QR code to be given the next instruction. This is an example of one order the treasure hunt could be done in:

  1. “A bottle of water cost £1.10 – How much change do you have now? Now go to garden arch to find your next item.”
  2. “You need two apples. One apple costs 40p, what is the total? How much money have you got left now? Now go to the Union Shop for your next item.”
  3. “Buy 1 sandwich, which costs £2.85. How much money would you have left?Now go the gym hall to buy your next item.”
  4. “Your next purchase is three yoghurts. They each cost 72 pence each. How much money do you have left? Go to the bike stands for your next item.”
  5. “Buy one banana which costs 59p. How much money do you have left? You will have to go to the door of lecture hall 2 for your next item.”
  6. “Buy one bag of popcorn which costs £1.05 – How much money do you have left? Go to the fridge for your next item.”

This groups final QR code states that they have to go to the fridge for their next item, this is an example of our continuous circle which ensures the groups do not simply flock together and follow. Once the children had collected all of their items on their shopping list they would return to the classroom to collect their final QR code which read  “Do you have any money left after buying your shopping? Can you afford to buy 1 more banana and 1 more bag of popcorn?  If not, how much more money would you need to buy them.” This would provide the children with the opportunity to develop their problem solving skills to get to their final answer.

The curriculum experiences and outcomes we feel our lesson would cover are:

  • I can use money to pay for items and can work out how much change I should receive. MNU 1-09a
  • I have investigated how different combinations of coins and notes can be used to pay for goods or be given in change. MNU 1-09b
  • Using digital technologies responsibly I can access, retrieve and use information to support, enrich or extend learning in different contexts  TCH 1-02a 

(Scottish Government , 2008)

Our group ensured our QR codes were spread throughout both the university and the outdoors. We did this as “Outdoor learning is a fundamental part of a child’s learning opportunities as it offers “motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from pre school years through to college” (Learning and Teaching Scotland 2010).  These are some of the skills it develops :

  • Critical thinking – making links between curriculum areas.
  • Develops communication in different environments, team work and problem solving skills.
  • Promotes healthy lifestyles and ensures the children are getting both exercise and fresh air.
  • It allows children to learn the skills of risk management and how to follow rules and boundaries.
  • Allows for skills to be used and developed which are not typically used in the classroom environment, this therefore builds the self esteem of the children who struggle in the every day lessons.
  • The outdoor environment encourages staff and students to see each other in a different light, building positive relationships and improving, self awareness and understanding of others”                    (Education Scotland (2010)

When creating our QR codes our group used the QR stuff website. Here is a link to the website as we feel it was extremely simple to understand and ultimately it was quick and easy to create the QR codes, even as beginners:  https://www.qrstuff.com/ . This app gives you a variety of options for your QR code it allows you to link website URL, PDF files and even twitter links. Our group decided that choosing plain text would be the best method for our activity as we were giving the children written tasks. This app also allowed us to change the colours of each QR code which helped us to distinguish between them when placing them around the area. This is an example of our colourful QR codes:

The only issue we found with this app was that the yellow tones did not work as they could not be scanned when printed off, this is one thing I would keep in mind when creating others.

At the end of today’s session, each group was given the chance to complete one of the other groups QR activities. Our group was given the opportunity to complete an activity designed by our peers which was aimed at developing children’s social skills in a fun manner. The aim of the activity was to move around the classroom and speak to every individual and ask them if you can scan their QR code , every person in the class would have a QR code which would lead us to ask such things as what is your favourite animal, however not every person would have a letter attached to their code which would lead us to our final goal of finding out the hidden word within the codes. This was a great activity to get me talking to everyone in the classroom and socialising with others outside my friendship group. It helped me to get to know some very interesting facts about not only my peers but my lecturer too and the hidden word we found was friends which I feel is a really important prospect to develop within the classroom. It was great to try out other peoples ideas and activities and to see the diversity in each and every one of them.  Oh and the end price of a creme egg was very enjoyable too.

Overall, I now know that QR codes can be used in a diverse range of ways from developing maths skills to outdoor learning to forming friendships and bonds, each of which is a very worthwhile area and I cannot wait to explore QR codes in the classroom.  The activities I took part in made it extremely easy for a very timid girl like myself to approach others and learn new things about my peers and I hope it has the same affect on the children in my classroom.


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