Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Canadian Kids Learn Math through Creating and Programming Robots!

Good piece from the Calgary Sun...

"CJA using robots to encourage STEM education among students with Robotics Centre of Excellence

CJA Robotics Centre for Excellence
CJA students program their robots and send them on missions as part of math class in the school’s new Robotics Centre for Excellence. 
It isn't often that you see any young student get excited when it's time for math class.
But at the Calgary Jewish Academy (CJA), students aren’t just excited for math — they’re excelling at it.
For all those teachers pulling their hair and parents throttling tutors, the secret is simple: robots.

"It’s awesome," Grade 5 CJA student Soly Spivak said as he watched his Lego robot weave its way around the classroom.

"We program it, and I can make it move from here to here. It’s easy."

But what do robots have to do with math?
CJA science teacher Jeff Warner was one of the visionaries behind the Robotics Centre of Excellence, a brand new program that incorporates STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) into the school's daily curriculum.

Starting as early as Kindergarten, students are getting hands-on experience building robots, and more importantly, learning how to code them.

"The idea is to engage kids in learning specifically about robotics with a focus on programming," Warner said. "Coding is very much a growing trend in education — it’s a skill of the future."

When we hear the word coding, our minds often jump to savants or Hollywood hackers. But Warner said programming is a lot simpler than it’s made out to be.

"Programming is actually a ton of fun," he said. "And it’s really good for the brain because it’s just the pure distillation of logical problem solving."

Now with education sets like Lego Mindstorm and WeDo, it’s possible for kids as young as five to start understanding traditionally tougher subjects like math through basic computer programming...

"One of our goals with math is to make it practical," Warner said. "I give the students a robot and a mission, and they literally can’t solve the problem unless they work out certain numbers."..

Read the full article at its source: http://www.calgarysun.com/2016/11/13/cja-using-robots-to-encourage-stem-education-among-students-with-robotics-centre-of-excellence 

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