In a presentation for the annual LEGO Robotics Competition, 5th graders showed parents, teachers and peers mechanisms they built and programmed to lessen the impact of natural disasters. The first team presented a shed housing a siren that floats in the ocean with an anchor that detects a tsunami as it begins to form. Another team presented a model that used hydropower to regulate the temperature in a city regularly attacked by tornadoes. The last teams presented two different and equally complex models for preventing the impact of a volcano using titanium walls, pressure detection and salt water hoses. On the lego landscape, each team then introduced the lego robots they had programmed to carry out specific tasks; moving emergency vehicles, cutting tree branches without damaging power lines, moving road blocks, etc. Most impressive was that these students learned to build and program these robots almost entirely on their own. As Bridget Rutherford, the fifth-grade teacher informed us, “This was the first year we did the project without the founding instructor, so the lesson was very much discovery-based.” Each student used the thematic playing surface as a platform for innovation, ignited by the will to keep people safe and the curiosity to create.
WCDS uses project outlines given by FIRST LEGO League (FLL), where students are introduced to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. The WCDS robotics program on campus engages the curiosity and innovation of 5th grade students while furthering their understanding of applied mathematics. Bridget Rutherford plans to continue Lego Robotics as a staple of the 5th grade curriculum.
Wheeling Country Day School is an ISACS accredited and NAIS member school for PK – 5th in Wheeling, WV focusing on empowering students to think, to create, and to communicate in a nurturing environment where learning and character are paramount.