Today was our first ever STEM Robotics Club! I have been wanting to do some type of programming or computer club for a while now but never found a way to get it going. This year a new person was hired to teach computers and from Day 1 it just felt like we were “talking the same talk”, Robotics Talk that is!
“I have been wanting to teach some type of computer club for a couple of years,” I sort of mentioned one day early in the year. “I would just love to get the kids programming or something.”
“Let’s do it!” she said. “I have all this information on WeDo and Mindstorm (both Lego robotics) and I have already ordered lots of kits for the computer lab.”
Wow, I thought, I don’t really even know what she is talking about. (Hahaha) But you know what, that never really stopped me before. My motto with regards to anything is, “I can probably run a little faster than the kids!” Not much faster admittedly, but a little. We decided to use the WeDo Lego Robotics kits for the 2nd and 3rd graders and Mindstorm for the 4th graders (the oldest age group in our school). This would help prepare the 4th graders for the Mindstorm Robotics Club when they got to the Middle School next year. Each session would be 6 weeks long, that way we could fit in 2 sessions before the year ended.
And today was our first club!
We would be meeting our 4th graders and the plan was to start them building a robot. We figured they would need a few weeks to build, then learn to program it. It is a 6 week club so we were saving our Nao robot for the end if we needed him. He is SO cool!
We met the kids at 7:45 am, this is a morning club because the afternoons get so busy for the kids that we didn’t want them to have conflicts if robotics was one of their dreams. There are sixteen 4th graders and were they excited to get going!
Well, let me just say, it was awesome! The girls worked in a group of 5 (they wanted to do that) with my colleague working alongside them. The boys were in 2 groups of 4 (one student was absent) and I was sort of overseeing them. It was very interesting to watch the dynamics of each group. There was an “I got this” kid in each group, an “I think you have that backwards” kid, an “Ooh, can I try next” kid, and a cheerleader, the “Yeah, you got it” kid. My job was coach, not coaching the building, the kids were way ahead of me on that, but the teamwork coach. Sharing the roles, observing the dynamics and encouraging problem solving. Complimenting good strategies and pointing out strong skills. It brought me right back to my mom days, watching my own sons building their dreams out of Legos.
Tomorrow is our first 2nd and 3rd grade club. We are on our way to the moon and back!