PCR: Taking the Media Center by (Mind)Storm

Never mind writing up the final draft of the English essay in the computer lab. In today’s world of Chromebooks, that is so yesterday. Now, the Media Center offers upper grade students the opportunity for coding and writing programs that make it possible for student robots to move forward, backward, and even in squares and equilateral triangles.

    On the heels of an existing after-school robotics program that competes around Southern California, Computer Specialist Jeanine Bentz has introduced the EV3 Mindstorm Lego Robotics program to fifth and sixth graders. ( Fourth graders will be doing it later in the year.)  

    “OK, students,” Mrs. Bentz says, reading what she has projected on the screen,”Your first challenge is to move your robot forward at 50% power for 90 centimeters, wait for one second, and then drive it straight backward for 90 centimeters.”

The students, usually working in pairs, are on it, programming, testing, adjusting, recalculating.  They get it right so quickly that the entire class can line their robots on blue tape and watch them move forward in unison.  Then it is on to bigger challenges, such as building a program to drive a square 36 centimeters on each side

    “I like how they are teaching us programming  because it can be useful in the future,” says Kamille M., a member of Mrs. Healey’s class.