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Sixth Grade Explores Programming and Robotics

Education at The Gregory School allows for flexibility. Our faculty can pivot in new directions as teachable moments arise. Following is an example from Dan Moore's sixth grade science class.

6thgraderobotics1

In sixth grade we study Earth science. Normally you will find us identifying rocks and minerals, learning the difference between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock. We might study volcanoes and investigate different types of simulated lava. We might even study plate tectonics using oreo cookies to show the different ways the tectonic plates move (and eat our models at the end)!
 

For the past several weeks we have taken a break from Earth science and worked on programming and robotics. Students have programmed robots to flash a variety of colored lights, display pictures, and make sounds. We have made the robots move forward and backward in straight lines and circles and in squares and rectangles. We even made the robots drive along a road and park in a garage!

 
Our robotics unit started several years ago when TGS science teacher Amy Bergersen was using the robotics lab to do a research project, working with both eighth and sixth graders. This experience so successful that I have continued this unit. This unit of study allows students to progress at their own pace and to use some of the 6C's (critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, compassion and community). Student teams have to collaborate and communicate with one another to accomplish the task. They have to use critical thinking to troubleshoot when the robot does not do what they want it to. An advantage of this unit is that the students all get immediate feedback; you can see right away what works and what doesn't. When something doesn't work, it is not a failure but rather gives information about what to try next. This unit fosters perseverance and grit, attributes that serve students well in all areas of their academic lives.

 

By integrating the skills and attributes of the 6 C’s (critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, compassion, and community) into a Gregory School education, we ensure that student learning experiences here have the authenticity and relevance students need to carry forward in their education and in their lives.

 
Daniel Moore
Daniel Moore received his B.A. from Colorado College. He joined The Gregory School faculty in 2016.

It is a joy to come to school every day. As teachers at The Gregory School, we are surrounded by inspirational colleagues, motivated students, and supportive administrators and parents. 
Daniel Moore









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