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Grades 6-8
6, 7, 8

Photon Education

Speaking and Listening, Participating in a Conversation Using a Protocol

Duration time:
60 min.
Programming interface:
Photon DrawPhoton Joystick
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Reference to the core curriculum

Common Core English Standards: 
- CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.SL.6-8.1: Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.

Class goal:

  • To effectively communicate ideas in a discussion.
  • To take turns when participating in a conversation.
  • To build on others’ ideas in a discussion.

Type of exercise:

  • Group work.

Required items:

  • 5 or more Photon Robot(s) and devices for programming.
  • Student texts.
  • Discussion Questions.

Lesson scenario:

Programming Interface: Joystick or Photon Draw via the Photon EDU App or the Magic Bridge Software.



  • The teacher will choose the text to be discussed.
  • The students will read the text with the appropriate level of teacher support.
  • Establish or review class norms for discussions.                                                                     
    For example:
    • Only one person talks at a time.
    • Be respectful of each other in the choice of words you use.
  • Review Sentence Stems for discussions.                                                                                                         
    For example:
    • I agree with you because …
    • I disagree with you because …
    • The text says ...
  • Determine discussion group size based on the number of Photons and students.


Lesson Sequence: 

  • Review Classroom Norms for Discussion.
  • Review Sentence Stems for Discussion. 
  • Divide the class into groups based on the number of available Photons.  In the upcoming lesson, we will have one Photon per three students. 
  • Give one member of each group a Photon and device to program Photon.
  • Explain the Think-Pair-Share Protocol.  
    • The teacher will ask a question about the text that has been read by all students.
    • Every student will Think about their response.
    • The student with the Photon will share their response with their partner(s).  
    • Pair - they will drive the Photon to another student in their group who will then share their thoughts on what the partner included in their response.  This should be repeated until each member of the group has shared.  If students have more to add after all members of the group have had their turn, they can continue their conversation together until they arrive at what they want to share out.
    • Share - the teacher will invite a group to share their answer.  After listening to the answer of the initial group, the other groups should adjust the color of their Photon ears to green if they wish to share and add on or disagree with the answer.
  • For each question, rotate to a new person in the group to start the Pair portion of the protocol.
  • Extension:
    • Have students write a reflection of how they built on others’ ideas and expressed themself clearly.

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