Robotics training and coding in the school district continues to propel into the future with a $138,507 donation from Ridley Terminals Inc.
School District 52 will use the funding to purchase kits full of robotic devices for each school, as well as provide teacher training, and support an annual robotics celebration in the community.
Andrew Samoil, the director of instruction and educational innovation at the school district, said that they have a few kits right now but they’re being shared between the schools. This will allow every school to have a classroom set to enable students to learn hands on coding.
These kits will include a Sphero, a little ball that can be controlled through an iPad, motorized VEX robots, littleBits electronic building blocks and Lego Mindstorms.
“This is like Lego on sterroids. It allows you to build something in Lego and add a little module to it and that module is programmable so the device will move, and obviously you have to put the wheels on and such. You’ll have it execute your commands so it will move, you can make it do a pattern and run an obstacle course,” Samoil said.
Students will be able to work collaboratively to figure out how to get the device to move from one place to another.
“The students try their code, if it doesn’t work they get instant feedback to help them develop logical thinking,” Samoil said.
There will also be a yearly celebration to showcase what the students are learning with the classroom kits. The vision is that elementary school teams will program their Sphero or Lego Mindstorm device to run through an obstacle course. Parents and the public will be invited to watch.
“Ridley Terminals is extremely supportive of educational initiatives such as this one. It helps students gain the necessary skills to prepare them for the jobs of the future,” said Marc Dulude, president at Ridley Terminals, in the press release.
“Learning to code promotes problem-solving, collaboration, and logical thinking,” said Ken Minette, superintendent for School District 52. “The district thanks Ridley Terminals Inc. for their generous contribution and support of our students.”