“I feel smart!”
-Quote from an 8th grader after writing his first programming function.
About 200 8th grade AGS 1 students from Meadow Park programmed Ozobots to solve challenges. Using visual coding and quite a bit of math, they persevered to get their tiny robot to run laps, knock down bowling pins, and escape from a maze.
One purpose of our visit was to expose students to programming, and then to use their programs to make a physical object (the Ozobot) perform a task. For a number of kids, this was their first exposure to any kind of programming. Kids worked together to teach themselves the programming environment, and how to upload their programs to the Ozobot using light codes from the screen. They then worked together to see if they could make their Ozobots complete difficult physical challenges.
Another purpose of our visit was to engage kids in tasks that require them to draw upon and apply their math skills to solve problems. Even the task of programming a small robot to do a seemingly simple task often requires knowledge of angles, geometry, algebra, -and in some cases- cartesian coordinates, and even functions! We also chatted about the math that must be going on “under the hood” of these robots that allows them to actually activate the motors and sensors that allow the Ozobot to execute the program.
This is the first step- exposure to something new. Mr. Fewx and Ms. Mann from Meadow put themselves out there to try something new. This is the essence of a lifelong learner. Along the way, they provided their students with a new opportunity to see math in a different way, and gain skills in programming and robotics.