The robots blinked, buzzed and twirled as they zipped around the hardwood floor of the Timnath Elementary School gym. Groups of excited first and fourth graders stood nearby, huddled over glowing iPads as they coded the spherical robots’ next move.
This lively morning activity might have seemed like it was all fun and games, but these students were practicing deep problem solving, coding skills and teamwork as they coded their Dash robots to complete various tasks. To complete their assignment, students had to get their robots to travel around the gym, light up and change colors, record the sound of their voice, and more.
For the past few months, these first- and fourth-grade classes have been working together on these types of projects. For the younger students, it’s a chance to stretch their computer science abilities. For the fourth graders, it’s a chance to test their knowledge and leadership skills as they coach their younger peers.
“When working together, students have to communicate productively to gain success,” teacher Heather Shubin said. “I also hope that students would be more willing to get involved with computer science opportunities like coding in the future.”
First grade student Nevaeh was excited for the final activity of the day: A robot dance off. She had coded her robot to do “lots of spins.” Nevaeh said she preferred coding on the robots to coding on a computer because it was more active and fun.