This Christmas break, my friend Michaela Freeland (@_mfreeland) and I decided to offer a two day, morning robotics camp for students in our lower and middle divisions. We opened registration up to 2nd through 6th grade students, and ended up with 11 students ranging in age from 7 to 11. 9 are girls and 3 are boys. Today was day 1 of our robotics camp, which we’re holding from 9 am to noon. Last summer we co-led two different robotics camps using Thymio Robots from TechyKids. For our winter break camp, we are using Edison Robots.
We offered this camp for several reasons:
- To provide students with opportunities for extended periods of time to play, explore, and engage in “design challenges “
- To develop computational thinking skills
- To develop collaboration and problem solving skills
- To have fun with friends, learning how coding and robotics can be both challenging and fun!
In third grade my students have been coding using both the iPad apps “PBS Scratch Junior” and “Scratch Junior.” This has helped many of them develop a strong foundation in coding. They have told stories, created animations, and made games. I love the creative ways my students apply the ideas we are learning in Science and STEM class, and represent them through coding in Scratch Junior’s “kid-friendly” block-based environment.
Our design challenge for day 1 of our winter break robotics camp was to use at least two of the Edison Robot “pre-programmed” bar codes to navigate a maze. Students had the opportunity to explore five different, pre-programmed bar code programs to introduce them to the possibilities of the Edison robot sensors.
In this 2 minute video, two third graders and one first grader explain how they developed a maze using the “follow a torch/flashlight” and “clap controlled driving” programs.
I am looking forward to seeing what our students will learn and create tomorrow, as we introduce them to the “EdBlocks Programming Language” based on Scratch Junior blocks from MIT. EdBlocks is web-based, so our students will be using iPads and the Safari web browser to create their programs.