Robotic education in the classroom

By Jessica Dempsey

December 21, 2017 12:18 PM

Grade 5, 6 and 7 integrated math and technology students at St. Mary’s Elementary School were able to learn about new robots that were purchased in hopes of enhancing their education. JESSICA DEMPSEY LLS PHOTO

The robots are in, as Grade 5, 6 and 7 integrated math and technology (IMT) students at St. Mary’s Elementary School received additional tools for learning.
IMT teacher Nicole Blais received a grant last year from BP A+ for Energy worth $10,000 to go towards their project Super Sunny Robotics.
“It’s an opportunity for the students to experience something that is completely out of the normal classroom,” explained Blais.
“It gives the students an opportunity to work with something they will probably be working with in the future.”
The robots are powered by solar energy and are controlled by the students.
With technology being integral to the way the world works, these robots give the students an opportunity to learn and evolve with the way careers are going.
“Our future is going towards technology, and to give the kids an opportunity like this is opening doors for them hopefully in the future,” said Blais.
The students were really engaged in the robots, and many said they liked to learn with them.
“The best part about learning about these robots is the stunts, because it tells you how fast the robot moves, what angle you have to go, and it teaches you a lot about math as well,” said Grade 6 student Kaylee Hoffman.
One of the things she said she had learned from these robots was it was easier to actually work than she first thought.
“So, if you wanted to do it for a living it’s a lot easier than you might actually think it might be,” she said, adding it was a career she was looking into.
Grade 7 student Gage Hills also described the opportunity to be able to learn with the robots as fun.
“It can help you in the future,” he said. “If you want to be something that has to do with robots you know this now at a younger age.”
The possibility of having a future career with robots, Hills said could definitely happen.
“Maybe a future job,” he said. “Maybe getting better at programming so I can have a future job.”
The robots have many different functions including facial and voice recognition, commands, playing music, and much more.
Dennis Kambeitz, director, Robots Education visited the school on Tuesday to show the students how to use the robots and how to program, run, and properly care for them.
“They learned a little bit about robotics literacy, the changes that robotics will bring to the workforce, how it will impact all of their futures, and then the kids came up and got a chance to program the robots, and did some pretty incredible things,” he said.
Bringing robots into the classroom, Kambeitz said was beneficial for all students.
“Robotics education is rapidly becoming a very critical literacy, and over the next five to seven years robotics is going to become a layer across all industries, and if we are graduating people from our high schools that don’t have that literacy, they are going to be disadvantaged at whatever careers they choose,” he explained.
The students were given different types of robots, which they will be able to learn from in hopes of a better future.

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