Conn-Area Catholic School had a robotics program as part of the curriculum for sixth-graders, but starting this year, that program has been expanded to all grades at the school.
In an effort to expose students to the latest and greatest technology, the program enables students to build robots, work with LEGOS as a learning activity and use 30 new iPads to code commands for their robots to execute.
“I think it’s just another avenue of a gift or talent that a child might have or be drawn to that God will have a purpose for, and someday they will create something that brings joy to the world,” said Cecilia Solan, principal. “Having a robotics program teaches our students an understanding of technology. Robots are found everywhere.”
Each grade level uses a different kit that teaches students different aspects of robotics over the course of a semester, all culminating in the sixth grade.
Preschoolers and kindergarteners use LEGOS to build structures that teach gears, pulleys, forces and catapults. First- and second-graders use WeDo 2.0 kits, which provide standardize-aligned, interactive coding activities. Students in grades three and four start building robots using the Mindstorms Education EV3 program. Fifth- and sixth-graders use more advanced kits that incorporate all facets of the different programs.
The program not only provides a way for students to actively learn math and science, it also teaches them to work together, collaborating to solve problems — an invaluable skill that may have an influence on their career path, Solan said.
“The robotics program creates a lot of opportunities to teach other things while working together with a partner, building and watching things evolve as they are happening,” Solan said. “Then the students explain it, and the teachers are having them talk about it and give presentations on what they’ve learned, which is a piece that’s really important, too. It’s a very neat program.”
Solan said part of the school’s mission is to involve the students in a variety of
experiences to help them discover God’s purpose for them, and this program does just that.
“It has been a great addition to our current curriculum,” she said.
— Alec Italiano