Learning 7 Jan 2019

TK’s weekend of robots

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

In recognition of Computer Science Education Week 2018, TK hosted a special community event to coincide with their annual Hour of Code activities. It took place over two days on 2 and 3 December 2018, and 25 families turned up to try their hand at robot programming.

The plan was simple, each parent-student pair would be given a robot, a set of instructions and links to other resources to help them learn how to program the robot. They could choose from a variety of projects like BBC Micro:bit, Lego Mindstorms EV3, Lego Education WeDo 2.0, Spheros and Parrot Mambo drones. After getting to know their robot, exploring its capabilities and learning some basic programming, the parent-student pair would then design a simple task for the robot to complete to showcase what they had learned.


While this sounds like an easy task, every team had to start their project from scratch so it was tough going for a bit. Nevertheless, the teams overcame any initial difficulty and accomplished some amazing feats including synchronising flying drones (to those in other teams) in a dance, and creating mazes and bowling alleys for Spheros.

Students who attended had prior experience in block based coding, so it was a fantastic opportunity for them to teach their parents a new skill and level up their knowledge in the process. Ben Cooperman, our STEAM facilitator and event organiser, told us that the students were very professional because they had total ownership and often took the initiative to ensure that their projects would turn out successful. Their parents (both mums and dads) were surprisingly keen learners as well, resulting in a unique family bonding experience that was fun for everyone.


The weekend activity ended on a high note. When the following Monday rolled around, the students were tasked with an important mission: teach two of their friends what they had learned over the weekend. As we roamed around the TK gym, we were impressed by how professional the ‘robot master trainers’ were as they imparted their newfound skills to their ‘protégés’. We are sure that everyone went home with lifelong knowledge that would serve them well in future!

Thanks to the efforts of Ben Cooperman, with help from Blaze Smith (TK grade 4 teacher) and Yoni Garboyrg (from A Posteriori, one of our after school activities provider), this weekend activity was a runaway success. Want to join more of activities like this? Then don’t forget to keep a lookout for updates on future workshops from Ben Cooperman in our weekly WAG newsletters.