Programming Parallax S2 Robots in Elementary STEM Classes

Elementary STEM students, at Allendale Columbia School, are pilot-testing the S2 Floor Robot from Parallax, Inc. We had the pleasure of personally meeting the president of the company, Ken Gracey, when we were in Washington D.C. at the Annual Forum of the International Association for S.T.E.M. Leaders. After trying out the S2 robot, along with considering the years of extensive robotics programming experiences of our elementary STEM students, we became interested in bringing this Middle School-level robotics program to our Elementary School students. After further evaluations and, initial field-testing, we developed our 3rd grade curriculum and have commenced with piloting our unit lessons and completely individualized, programming PBL tasks for each student.

In the context of this new, graphical programming environment, our elementary STEM students are learning programming procedures and sub-routines to use with solving for the particular programming challenges they are posed. A programming feature, we are especially excited about, is the capability of programming robot navigation with taking into account speed, time, and direction when students are specifically programming point turns, pivot turns, or curve turns. This value-added programming feature, among others, will provide the opportunity for our young students to initially learn some of the more complex programming concepts they will be progressing on to in the next level, NXT Robotics System.

For an added, real world experience, our students will also be providing feedback to Parallax, Inc. on their specific learning experiences with programming the S2 Robot.


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