Fifth Graders Flex Innovation Skills with Robots

Building a knowledge base of robotic commands is one of many first steps in designing future robots. Skill-building for robotics work in fifth-grade science has many starting points and significantly ramps up through a unit on coding. Students learn the basics of computer science by working through lessons on to create computer programs, develop problem-solving skills, and work through fun challenges involving algorithms, debugging programs, completing drawings, and creating simple animations. “As they worked on these lessons, students encountered favorites such as Angry Birds, BB-8, Anna and Elsa, and Minecraft,” said Middle School Science Teacher Kelly Long.

“After our unit on coding, we introduced brand-new LEGO® SPIKE™ Prime robotics kits that students use to apply coding skills while using critical thinking to solve various challenges with their robots. In addition, the students enjoy building their own driving base and creating various attachments to solve missions,” said Middle School Science Teacher Branson Lawrence.

The LEGO SPIKE Prime kits contain more than 40 guided lessons, step-by-step building and coding instructions, and the intuitive SPIKE Prime App. The app uses a drag-and-drop coding language based on Scratch programming language. The heart of the SPIKE Prime system is a programmable Hub, a brick-shaped device with advanced power, lights, and connectivity tools. The kit also includes motors, sensors, and easy-to-use building elements, allowing students more time to learn and less time to build. Students can apply engineering design skills at each step of the design process and develop efficient problem-solving and coding skills by breaking down problems and using algorithmic thinking.

Ellie Jones ’30 enjoyed learning about coding and robots. “I love being able to code what I want to and make friends while doing it. It’s fun to decide what happens with the robot.” Lucy Meyer ’30 appreciated seeing all the parts that went into building a robot. “I enjoyed building the robot. I found the coding part really challenging, but the best part about the LEGO robot is how it can sense colors and do something when it sees a color.”

Robotics provides an engaging way to explore computer science and learn essential 21st-century skills needed to become the innovative minds of tomorrow while having fun!