Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dec. 6: Robotics!

One of the things we strive to do with our IGNITEd sessions, is cater to what participating teachers want to learn. At the end of the summer, one of our previous participants suggested an introduction to robotics, and we were happy to comply.

On Saturday, December 6, Manitoulin IGNITEd welcomed Darren Foy from Algonquin Public School (Sudbury) and volunteers from his school's robotics team to introduce an enthusiastic group of teachers to LEGO EV3 Mindstorm robots. He put together an amazing workshop that combined lots of play time with the robots with information as to what this robotics thing is all about.

Darren giving us the overview of the day, and introducing us to resources.

Most of us had never had the chance to play with robotics like this before, and weren't sure what to expect. Darren started us off with a couple of videos showing us the best of the best - what do the most advanced robotics groups do with this technology?

We then talked about how FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO Robotics League works, including the emphasis placed on fair play, sportsmanship and team work. The robotics team shared with us how they witness students practice persistence and become more creative in their approach to programming, as well as how students quickly learn that it's better to get really good at a few tasks rather than being mediocre at many tasks.

Algonquin's team display at the recent FIRST LEGO League competition, which focused on growth mindset.

Darren walked us through how to best apply for funding, and how the club works at his school as well as at a couple of the high schools in Sudbury.

After a bit of discussion, the robots were unleashed! Each student expert was paired up with a couple of adults who tackled a couple of basic challenges, such as programming a robot to follow a line, or to turn before a robot runs into a wall.

We finished up with lots of questions and answers for our hosts, a curriculum scavenger hunt, yet more hands-on time, and several grapes being launched across the room by robotic arms!

We ended the day with at least two grant proposals being put together to try and get robotics to the island. Huge thank you to Darren and all of our parent volunteers and student experts for a thrilling workshop, true to the IGINITEd spirit!

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