The experience takes place at a primary school in an outlying district of Montevideo. The teacher worked with the group in the design of a long-term project for two consecutive academic years. The project culminated in the creation of a robot that made a gamified path with questions related to digital citizenship.
The teaching experience of learning with the group in the process.
Errors as part of the learning process.
Robot made by a group of 7 and 8-year-old students.
Strengthen reading and writing
The group had started primary school in the pandemic and it was important to strengthen their reading and writing skills.
Students’ access to individual devices made it crucial to develop a critical view on their possible uses and, in turn, to create a digital citizenship project.
Working in groups resulted in the creation of specific roles to carry out the project.
Creating the robot
The students had previously created an air fan, which made them know the names of the pieces, their functions and possibilities. Once this stage ended, they continued to create specific features chosen by the group (a robot that moves and has sensors). Robotics kits and Lego pieces were used.
The robot had to be part of their chosen game. In this way, they chose a path for the robot to follow. After that they made a prototype of the path selecting different materials to enable the game, from paper to wood.
In this stage they created the path conditions so the game could make sense. They decided to make questions that would lead to two options. Some of the answers did not lead to any paths and others led to reach the game's finishing line.
The path depends on the answers to specific questions. Here they made the questions, which were related to digital citizenship. For example: if you go away on holidays, would you publish the pics in real time or once you are back home?
Trial and error
The whole process implies trial-and-error moments. It is important to take this as part of the activity since there are always variables at stake that lead to rethinking the process as well as its goals.
Assessment and conclusions
Teamwork. Assigning roles to students helped them understand the logic of working with peers, even in projects that don't involve robotics.
Using the error. While programming and making the robot different frustrating variables may arise, which allows students to understand the error as part of the learning process.
Things to improve
Availability of resources. Apart from the robotics kits, it is important to have other resources to enrich the experience. For example, wood pieces to build a maze-like path.
At the beginning I was reluctant to work with robotics because of lack of knowledge. Thanks to the support and guidance I got, the project gained strength and the targets were exceeded. Working in groups or tolerating frustration are transformative learning experiences.
Take this experience to your classroom!
Tips to adapt the experience to your classroom
This is a time-consuming experience that requires a proper place in the classroom project.
It is crucial to listen carefully to the children so that the experience can be part of their own interests.
It is important to find the relation with the different areas of knowledge. Robotics does not only belong to Math projects.
As teachers, the key is to dare. The teacher training does not normally include robotics and programming contents, and daring is the first step to educational transformation.