Learning More About Robotics

One of the most significant advantages to having a Race to the Top Grant from the Department of Education is that our students are able to experience and manipulate previously inaccessible technologies. Students in Kindergarten and 2nd Grade recently had opportunities to interact with robotics.

Kindergarteners have been learning about their bodies and describing the different ways we can move. To accompany this unit, students had a chance to interact with Sophie, a NAO Robot developed by Aldebaran Robotics. Sophie was programmed to help students compare and contrast our bodies and movements with those of a robot’s. Students followed along and copied Sophie as she identified and moved the different parts of her body. They were able to point out the similarities and differences, and even discussed how joints play an important part in the way our bodies move.

2nd Graders have been studying motion, simple machines, and three-dimensional shapes. To further their understanding and application of the concepts of motion, they had a chance to work with Spheros - small robotic spheres that are controlled by iPads.  Students took turns driving the Sphero to investigate its motion, then completed small challenges that involved controlling and manipulating a Sphero to follow and turn along a line and maneuver around various obstacles. To be successful, they needed to apply what they knew about force and speed, as well as adequately communicate and collaborate with their group members.

These opportunities allow students to transfer what they are learning in class to engaging hands-on experiences that will solidify their learning and challenge them to take what they have learned beyond the classroom walls.