News Archive

Robots in Action!
Posted 03/16/2017 04:10PM

ECC students explore coding

The future has arrived at the Early Childhood Campus – and it comes in the shape of a tiny robot!  Students in prekindergarten and kindergarten had their first lessons last week with the Ozobot Bits, small robots that follow paths drawn by students on white paper.  Using colored markers, students can command the Bits to speed up, slow down, spin like a tornado, u-turn, zig-zag, and more!

The use of Ozobots is the students’ introduction not only to robotics, but to coding.  They learn that different colors and sequencing correspond to different commands, which the Bit executes as it travels along the path (the Bit changes color to indicate that it is reading the code).  The prekindergarten and kindergarten students are using the Ozobots at the introductory level.  As a user becomes more advanced – elementary age and over - he or she is able to program the Ozobot on the computer using Blockly, a visual block coding editor.

This study of robotics and coding is part of the STEEM initiative at CDS, which begins at the ECC and continues all the way through high school.  In elementary, students enhance their study through the Hour of Code and in computer class, and the use of Lego robotics (WeDo and Mindstorm) in MakerLab.  In middle school, all students are enrolled in the IB Design Tech class, where they learn about computer-aided design (CAD), robotics, website design and programming languages, including JavaScript, CSS and HTML.  Finally, in high school, students have the option of taking classes in IB Computer Programming, where they are introduced to the world of computer science and learn the methodology of programming, ultimately using their acquired knowledge to develop cross platform applications and games. 

For now, the students and teachers are excited about their introduction to robotics and coding.  Sloane, a prekindergartner, exclaims, “I liked when my Bit went really fast down the path!”; her classmate, Willa, adds, “I made mine spin like a tornado!”  Their teacher, Miss Kati, says that all of her students enjoyed being exposed to something new.  “As time went on, they started figuring out what coding meant and how to use it.  This was a great introduction for them, and the fact that it’s hands on makes robotics very user-friendly for our students.”  Miss Kati and her fellow prekindergarten teachers are looking forward to incorporating the Bits into their next IB unit of inquiry, Tell Me a Story.  “I’m excited to see what the students took from their first lesson, and what we all can do together moving forward.”

Click here to see the Bits in action:


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