The sixth grade students at my school are a diverse group of learners that come from a wide variety of backgrounds. We have students from all socioeconomic groups, with the majority coming from disadvantaged homes. We also have many students that are Syrian refugees, from Iraq and Afghanistan, and Mexico.
However, they share one common desire; to learn with real world hands on applications.
The funny part is that they do not even realize this because when they are learning from authentic and organic experiences. They don't think of it as learning activity. They think of it as fun! It's amazing to see the "melting pot" of students come together and collaborate towards a common goal.
My school district has started a STEAM Academy for K-5 and now it's time for those students to enter middle school for sixth grade. We are starting a new STEAM cohort including two sixth grade classes.
After much research on providing problem solving opportunities and visiting other robotics programs, I have concluded that the Lego Robotics curriculum is a perfect solution for my STEAM students.
It offers a wide range of differentiation so all students can be challenged. Since we have over 300 sixth graders at my school, I also want to start a Robotics Club to provide access to all sixth grade students.
I watched a young fifth grader go through the trial and error process of programming her robot to get through an obstacle course. Each time she had to make a tweak to her program, I saw her developing grit and fostering a growth mindset. The challenge was exciting and encouraged her to persevere. While I also observed the students using math skills, I think the positive character traits that can be developed using robotics are priceless.
Robots are expensive and I understand that I have to start small. I already have one robot kit being purchased through our start-up STEAM funds. This opportunity will provide us with a second robot kit. I'm also looking into other district grants to provide a more comprehensive robotics program. Thank you for your consideration on this exciting venture.
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