Beginning Robotics for Elementary Students

BY Dawn Steber

Orleans Elementary School

Project Description
My major goal is to introduce 3rd – 5th grade students to beginning robotics, and programming skills. Students will be extremely motivated to explore and experiment with a familiar Star Wars droid robotic component. Students must first build, then program movement, and complete mission assignments. There are 16 activities included in the companion app, and opportunities for students to additionally challenge themselves using creative construction. These activities will allow students to use the engineering design process, enhancing their critical thinking skills, improving their problem solving skills, and modifying their ideas until each mission is completed.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
There will be several levels of success when using these robotic kits. Students will first be successful when they have completed constructing their droid in a cooperative manner with their teammates. As the students complete each activity within the App, they will share those accomplishments on a chart in the classroom. I will also be able to observe student engagement and motivation during these activities. Activities in cooperative learning group formats also allow students to assist others in peer-teaching moments, another component of success for any teacher.

Benefit to the students and the school
Many elementary students are not exposed to programming and robotics opportunities that are highly motivating, involving a familiar movie character. The state of Massachusetts has recently approved new standards for digital Literacy and Computer Science, and schools are scrambling to find the materials to meet those standards. Robotic technology components are extremely costly. Our Nauset district has 5 separate elementary schools, all of whom are struggling with materials budgeting. It would be my wish to not only expose the students in MY school with these robotic kits, but to also share these materials with my fellow elementary technology teachers in a sort of mobile technology unit. The benefits of this grant would be far-reaching.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
In the past I have taught an introduction to coding unit is December, so these kits could be used to supplement and extend that coding unit in January and February.