This week's blog explores National Robotics Week, using robotics in middle school math, and an excerpt from guest blogger, Kyle Walker, about Vex Robotics Tournaments.
National Robotics Week, April 6-14 2019
National Robotics Week (RoboWeek) is a series of grassroots events and activities during the month of April aimed at increasing public awareness of the strength and importance of the U.S. robotics industry and of the tremendous social and cultural impact that robotics will have on the future. Activities come in all shapes and sizes from a robot block party, university open house, or a robotics competition. The mission of RoboWeek is simple — to inspire students in STEM-related fields and to share the excitement of robotics with audiences of all ages. Celebrate RoboWeek by hosting an event in your community, sponsoring or attending a local event, or spreading the word on social media.
The Purpose of National Robotics Week
Radical Robotics Cohort
This process supported the resilient thinking at the core of Jeffco Generations. One teacher shared their thinking around motivation and robotics in their classroom. He said,“ intrinsic motivation was built in when using robotics and coding. Students receive instantaneous feedback once a program is run whether their program met their goal, did the robot perform the desired behavior. Students are intrinsically motivated to troubleshoot and rewrite their code to meet the program goal.”
Students at Moore Middle School worked with Spheros to look at unite rate and proportions. The first lesson let students experiment and to find the different speeds (Unit Rates) of their Spheros. In the second lesson, students shared the numbers that they acquired and created class average. Students then used class averages to find unit rates that were not tested for by using proportions. The final lesson was based over two different days. Students had to create two mazes for the Spheros to navigate through. They needed to measure the distance of the maze and then time themselves to see who could make it threw the fastest by finding the unit rate.
The teachers used Sphero EDU and the Cubelet Hub as launching pads. Both of these sites house lessons created by teachers. Cohort and others have begun writing lessons that are being shared in the Bridge to Curriculum Resource library. The hope is that these lessons can be a springboard for other Jeffco teachers to begin using robotics and coding in their classrooms as well. To find some of these lesson look for the tag words: Sphero or Cubelet. (Here is a quick reference guide to find resources in the Bridge to Curriculum).
VEX IQ Robotics Club at Kullerstrand Elementary
Kullerstrand Elementary just finished its third season of hosting an after-school competition-oriented VEX IQ robotics club. At the start of the season, teams of three had to analyze the yearly competition game (played on a 4’x8’ playing field), and then they started designing and building their robots. VEX robotics kits are comprised of LEGO-like parts and center around a programmable robot brain, which can connect to various sensors and motors. The teams do not have to program the robot in order to compete, but doing so does give a team a competitive advantage over teams who simply drive the robot with a wireless controller. One exciting feature of our program is a continuing wonderful partnership with students from School of Mines who have not only been serving as referees and judges, but who also have come out and presented in our sessions. Last year they brought our whole group out for a tour of the robotics area of their campus, and we are hoping to do the same again this spring.
This year, Jeffco hosted two official VEX IQ tournaments and had multiple teams qualify to go to the state championship in Erie, Colorado. One of the teams going to state was from Kullerstrand, and it was certainly an eye-opening experience. Our students were exposed to teams from other districts whose enthusiasm, focus and dedication to robotics was both inspiring and challenging. Such things as teamwork, sportsmanship, and professionalism regarding such mundane tasks as keeping up with an engineering notebook and following the design cycle… the importance of all this was driven home in a powerfully experiential way. We are looking forward to next year when we will take the things we learned and apply them to a fresh season of robotics. (Excerpt from Kyle Walker, Digital Teacher Librarian, Kullerstrand Elementary)
Way to go Kyle Walker and THANK YOU for all you do to support robotics in Jeffco!
Ready for more robotics learning?
Attend Rock CS or the Computer Science Learning Academy at InnEdCo this summer! Click on the links to learn more about these new conferences.