On November 14th, the 8th grade Robotics and Coding program had its official kick-off.

Lead by Technology teacher Michele Merlini, this portion of the 8th grade technology class is part of a district initiative to implement robotics and coding across the K-12 curriculum.

Last year, all the math teachers from grades 5-8 began meeting w/ Director of Technology Paul Garofano and Director of Curriculum Mike Curtin to draft a Robotics and Coding curriculum. The PTSA sponsored two days of professional development for these teachers at the Digital Arts experience during the Summer. When the 7th and 8th grade teachers decided on the specific technologies to be used, the PTSA sponsored additional curriculum development and training through the Digital Arts Experience and purchased all the robotics equipment for the 7th and 8th grade classes.

One of the main objectives of offering robotics and coding to our students is to promote Design Thinking and offer our students the opportunity to explore and learn about the foundations of robotics and coding.

8th grade students spent the first quarter getting familiar with coding. These coding exercises were meant to get students to think differently and establish a baseline for robotics. Once a class of students kicked off the initiative they built their robot and are troubleshooting various issues. For example, they are working with 2 motors and when they build their car, these motors are set up opposite one another. When they code the car to move, they discover one set of wheels moves forward and the other side goes backward. So they have a discussion about the problem and how to solve it. They then look at the physical car and arrive at a solution together.

The 8th grade robotics program is setting the stage for grades 5-7 to begin their robotics/coding programs as the year moves forward. As the district finds success in the 5-8 grade programs, the curriculum will continue to grow, offering these learning opportunities to all our Edgemont students.

Paul Garofano
Assistant to the Superintendent for Technology & Information Systems