Legos! Who doesn't love Legos! Students in the STEAM elective classes at North Tahoe School (NTS) certainly enjoy building, creating, and problem solving with them when learning about coding and robotics. Currently, students first venture into the world of robotics using the now retired Lego Mindstorm EV3 system of robots. After meeting with the company at the CUE (Computer Using Educators) Conference in March, they introduced me to their new system: BricQ Motion and SPIKE. The new system is replacing the Mindstorm EV3 system which was retired in the summer of 2021 and is no longer being supported. The new system provides scaffolding and support from their online curriculum by helping make abstract physical science concepts come alive. The colorful bricks move from drag and drop block coding language to the python language, which the students at NTS move into and utilize with another robotic system. STEAMING Up with Legos would help support the robotics flow at NTS!
Students who will benefit from the STEAMing Up with Legos are the students who are part of the STEAM elective at NTS. On a yearly basis about 150 students come through the STEAM Lab and learn about the many facets of STEAM education; robotics being one of the main concepts. Students who come into the program from Kings Beach Elementary (KBE) will be able to expand upon their prior knowledge and learning at the elementary level of the Lego education program. Students at NTS will be part of the secondary level of the Lego programs and will delve more into computer science, coding, simulations, collaboration, problem solving, and critical thinking - all fostering 21st century learning skills. STEAMing Up with Legos would be very beneficial to the robotics program at NTS.
Defining success of the STEAMing Up with Legos program would start with students comfortably learning from scaffolded and supportive curriculum. That students then move to creating on their own and supporting one another in moving from block coding to the python coding language. That students understand learning takes place when their projects fail, they collaborate on ways to improve, and the need to reiterate to find success. Success would be that students feel comfortable exploring the world of robotics and coding (outside of the Lego education platform) and apply that knowledge in other facets of STEAM education inside and outside of the lab. Students might then be interested in continuing their education by taking engineering classes in high school and possibly joining a robotics club. STEAMing Up with Legos will be a fun and engaging way to learn about engineering and robotics!
Implementation of STEAMING Up with Legos will provide a new and supported stepping stone into the world of robotics in the NTS STEAM Lab. This program would start with the 6th graders. The Lego BricQ Motion kits would provide guided practice throughout the supportive online curriculum. Students would then proceed into the extension lessons that are part of the system and, thus, move into Lego SPIKE Prime secondary lessons. These lessons would also be good for 7th Graders just learning about coding and robotics. The SPIKE Prime program moves into more complex building and coding, moving from the block coding to the python language. At that time, 7th and 8th Graders would then be more knowledgeable and feel more comfortable about moving into using the Cyber:bot robots that are already being utilized in the STEAM Lab.
Paula Bossler is the Science and Technology teacher at KBE, she is writing a grant to request Lego kits that are appropriate for elementary students. At the CUE Conference she and I discussed, with some Lego representatives, the ease of how the elementary system supports the secondary program.
If more pieces are needed then Measure AA funds could be used.
This grant would replace a system (Lego Mindstorm EV3) which has been used for years at NTS that is now retired and unsupported from Lego Education. The kits purchased with this grant would provided the much needed guided support and education that would better prepare my students for the Cyber:bot robots that were purchased with Excellence in Education in 2019. This grant would better support a comprehensive robotics program for the NTS STEAM students.