KCS: Building Robots since 2008!
KCS’s first ever Robotics Exhibition took place way back in 2008. Which means this year we are celebrating a decade of LEGO robots, crazy coding, and engineering-fuelled fun!
Our annual Robotics Exhibition is a chance for all Grade 7 students to try their hands at a number of challenges designed by the First LEGO League
(FLL). These are the same challenges that the Grade 7/8 FLL teams take on when they compete in the FLL global competition. This season’s theme was “HydroDynamics”, so all the tasks were based around exploring the location, use, storage and movement of water.
To help prepare them for these tasks, the Grade 7 students spent weeks designing, building and coding LEGO Mindstorm robots in their Science classes. During these classes, the students were encouraged to use the engineering method of thinking (as opposed to the traditional scientific method). This method is designed to highlight the importance of trial and error, iteration, refining, and cooperation – a set of skills that are essential for any self-directed lifelong learner.
After lots of exploration and experimentation, the students headed down to Canada Hall for a full day of robotics. The Grade 8 FLL teammates host the event each year, giving them an authentic opportunity to develop their leadership and organizational skills. Meanwhile, students from the rest of the school drop by to watch the robots in action and get a little inspiration for their own adventures in robotics.
That inspiration is quite useful because we provide lots of opportunities for students of all ages to explore robots and coding. Our young students in grades JK-3 are introduced to basic coding concepts through their work with our fleet of Dash & Dot robots. To help expand and solidify their algorithmic thinking skills, students in grades 1-4 use MIT’s ground-breaking Scratch and Scratch Jr. programs to create videogames and interactive stories. Then the students in grades 4-6 take those coding skills and use them to program robots in their Science classes and clubs.
Given all this practice and learning, it’s no wonder our grade 7 and 8 students do so well in both the FLL and our own Robotics Exhibition. We can only imagine what the next ten years of high-tech learning at KCS will bring!