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Fall SAVY 2019: Day 1 – Programming and Robotics (Grades 3/4)

Posted by on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 in Grade 3, Grade 4, SAVY.

These programmers had a great first day conceptualizing the world of robotics! We started by reading the first page of Peter Brown’s best seller, The Wild Robot Escapes. This gave us a foundation to discuss how robots know what tasks to perform. Then we dipped our toes into writing algorithms for our classmates to carry out in order to build a model with cups. Through this small group activity, we learned the new vocabulary words, including algorithm, bug, debugging, program, and programming. The students transferred these skills to using blockly coding on code.org. They were able to learn a language to communicate with their robot (aka computer character) to complete tasks. This also highlighted the importance of critical thinking and debugging or fixing errors when they are encountered.

The overarching theme of this week focused on the effects of robots in the workplace. Today we learned that AI or artificial intelligence makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, and perform human like tasks. We listened to a short informational podcasts that talked directly about AI in warehouses. Then, we watched a video and discussed how the company Amazon used robots in their warehouses. This allowed us to debate about the causes and effects of robots in the workplace and problem solve real world issues.

The most popular part of the day was combining our engineering skills and programming skills to start building our Lego Boost robots and have the robots complete small missions. As the week goes on, these missions will become more and more complicated. The most important aspect of the day was that these programmers learned to work together as team members. We are continuously talking about how to problem solve with others to create success!

This week, ask your programmers:

  • What types of jobs the robots in the Amazon were performing?
  • Was a human able to do that job before the robot?
  • Why do you think Amazon has robots filling orders?
  • What are the benefits and downfalls of robots in the workplace?

This is an amazing group of analytical thinkers and I cannot wait to see what we can develop together over the coming Saturdays! If they would like to practice what we are learning at home, they can go to code.org/join and use the logins I sent home with them.

See you next weekend!