In some schools, Robotics and Computer Coding are only offered as an after-school enrichment class. While Beth Hillel Elementary does offer an after-school robotics club, we actually integrate robotics and technology throughout the school day.
Starting as early as 2nd grade, our students create interactive stories, games, and animations directly in a browser with MIT’s popular and easy-to-use, drag-and-drop programming language. They learn to take command of characters and make creations come to life as they create interactive stories. Our program is designed to teach students to navigate through the multiple stages of development from brainstorming to play testing.
Beginning in 3rd grade, robotics and engineering are part of the science curriculum. Students participate in teams as they learn to program Lego Ev3 Robots and troubleshoot problems that come up. They also learn engineering principles and participate in engineering challenges using the STEAM Trax Design Process.
In addition, Beth Hillel Elementary is pioneering a 6th grade character and video game design course as a capstone Ancient Civilizations project. Students design and build their game from the ground up starting with brainstorming, prototyping, and storyboarding. They use Photoshop to create characters and backgrounds from scratch. Then, they program in GameSalad, a cross platform game engine. By the end of the course, our students develop a personalized 2D game that demonstrates their learning and that can be shared with friends and family. While there are plenty of ways we assess student learning with paper and pencil, this is one of the exciting, innovative ways we assess our students.