FPD’s fourth graders made their robots spin, twist, and zip across the floor using Dash and Dot, a block-based coding language. The program’s app, Blockly, allows students to learn the basics of coding and then see their work in the movements of a friendly, colorful robot. Through programming, students learn computational thinking, sequencing, loops, collaboration, and communication.
After a few years of using Code.org to teach coding to students in kindergarten through fifth grade, Lyn Brumbelow, FPD Elementary Technology Instructor, brought out the robots to give the students a different perspective on their coding work.
For their first lesson, the goal was to try different commands and see what happens. The students rolled a dice and, based on the number rolled, coded a certain command. After the required number of rolls, the students watched their robot execute the program. The students then wrote about the project. Later the students progressed to solve puzzles and set up their own course.
“This is a great introduction to robotics,” commented Brumbelow. “When working with the robots in groups, we assign roles and the rotate the roles. There is a Lead Programmer who programs the commands on the iPad, Robot Wrangler who sets up or moves the robot around before starting the program, and Documentarian who writes notes. This teaches teamwork in addition to coding.”
Watch out middle school and high school robotics teams, we have a new generation of coders coming soon!