By Julia Warner, Fargo Public Schools Gifted Services Instructor at Bennett Elementary
This school year, Bennett Elementary started a LEGO Robotics Club for fourth and fifth grade students. Club members are using electronic sensors, components, and online software applications with the LEGO MINDSTORM EV3 kits to learn how to operate robots. The students are learning how to build the robots and write programming code to command the robots to perform specific actions and sequences of actions. Basic actions include going forward, in reverse, in a circle, and following a prescribed path. The robots can be programmed to perform tasks as well, such as recognizing colors, picking up a ball, and closing a gateway.
Once they gain mastery of basic programming, the students then progress deeper into design engineering, science, and space challenges to explore open-ended, problem-solving activities that make learning science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through real-life robotics engaging and fun.
Bennett’s LEGO Robotics Club is made possible by a very generous donation from a Microsoft of Fargo employee that was then matched by Microsoft Corporation, and combined with a donation from the Bennett Parent-Teacher Association. In addition, Bennett Elementary is partnering with Microsoft of Fargo to provide volunteers for practice sessions every week to help club members explore these problem-solving, robotics activities.
Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking all rolled into a fun activity – that’s 21st Century learning at its best!