For the past couple years, Worcester Prep Lower School computer teacher Mandy Lynch has taught her fifth-graders to design, construct, and code interactive robotic animals using components from Hummingbird Duo Kits and Snap!, an educational graphical programming language.
The challenge tested their creativity and problem-solving skills while stressing the STEAM areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. Each animal robot featured movement, sounds, and lights. From a kangaroo complete with a baby joey, to a feathered pink flamingo, these 10-year-olds exceeded expectations and created elaborate projects.
Lynch shared the educational class presentations on YouTube, and they caught the attention of an Old Dominion University professor Dr. Jennifer Kidd. Kidd and her pre-service teachers were working with fifth- and sixth-graders on coding. She was fascinated by what the WPS students were capable of and contacted Lynch to learn how she implemented the project. The two classes video-conferenced April 25 to ask questions about each other's projects and to discuss design processes and problems they encountered.
Founded in 1970, WPS is an independent prekindergarten through grade 12 school, located in Berlin, Md. More than 500 students attend from Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. For more information about WPS, go to www.worcesterprep.org or call 410-641-3575.