Robotics at Rowan Elementary
The robotics program at Rowan Elementary School is vertically aligned and developmentally appropriate for our students in grades K-4.
Through their participation in robotics, students will learn, understand, and know how to:
- Effectively collaborate with their peers
- Design, develop, and complete robotics activities and challenges
- Create problem statements, analyze them, and design solutions
- Improve their technological skills
- Build their scientific knowledge by exploring motion, speed, energy, and forces
- Apply mathematics in different ways
Kindergarten students will first be introduced to robotics using Beebots. These colorful robots teach our youngest learners basic programming skills including how to sequence, solve problems, and communicate using positional words like forward, backward, left, and right. Students will also be introduced to programming by using Ozobots. They will use markers to create codes to program these small, color sensor-controlled robots. A way to supplement math and ELA instruction, programming Ozobots in kindergarten focuses specifically on codes relating to the speed of the bot.
First grade students continue robotics using the Beebots that they were first introduced to in kindergarten. At this grade level, students focus on more complex codes and moving the bots through mazes and games related to curricular units of study. In addition, students move beyond coloring in boxes of codes and create their own patterns for the Ozobots to follow. The sensors on the Ozobot detect colors which give different commands via different combinations of colors. This gives students the opportunity to embrace their creativity while sending their Ozobots on a variety of missions.
Second grade students will build upon their previous experience with Ozobot to take their computational thinking and programming skills to the next level. In this grade, students will move from programming the Ozobots strictly with markers to drag-and-drop block coding with Ozoblockly. Ozoblockly enables students to create programs and download them directly onto their bot by placing it on their computer screens. This is the students’ first introduction to block coding on the computer. Ozoblockly helps to build the conceptual framework for all programming languages. In addition to Ozobots with Ozoblockly, students are introduced to Sphero in second grade. SpheroEdu enables users to program by drawing, using block coding, or typing text. In second grade, students advance what they have learned in Ozoblockly and are able to apply it to Sphero, an app-enabled robotic ball.
LEGO WeDo gives third grade students the opportunity to build and then program working robots. WeDo follows LEGO Education’s four phase process of learning which includes connecting to a story, constructing a model, contemplating its function, and continuing to improve its design. The programming platform allows for mathematical operations as a stepping-stone to what students will do in fourth grade. Students also advance their skills using Sphero. In third grade, students are given more complex challenges that relate directly to the concepts of motion, speed, energy, and angles. These activities are much more open-ended and hone students’ problem-solving skills as they are forced to “guess and check” and creatively think to generate solutions.
Finally, our fourth grade students work exclusively with LEGO EV3 Mindstorms. These are the most advanced robots that we have at Rowan Elementary School in terms of both hardware and software. While students have opportunities to assemble the robots, the main focus in fourth grade is on programming. Students learn and apply mathematical concepts like calculating circumference and understanding its impact on wheel rotation, determining distances based on rotations, and measuring and converting between rotations and degrees. Students thrive when they demonstrate what they have learned in coding for the culminating robotics activity at Rowan, EV3 Battlebots!