By Anna Fennessey, Early Childhood Center teacher and Andrea Flagiello, Lower School computer science and innovation teacher
Tiny Torreys met with Lower School computer science and innovation teacher Andrea Flagiello to engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) activities this past month. She brought several Fisher Price® Code-a-pillars™, which allow children to explore basic concepts of coding. Each body segment of the caterpillar has a different function. This can include the simple movements of accelerating forward and turning right or left in various degrees to stopping and singing or repeating any action. When put together, the caterpillar moved according to the order of functions attached by the children. It wasn't long before the students figured out how to build the longest caterpillar and enjoyed watching it inch along down the sidewalk.
The robot is a modular robot that allows students to program the robot by connecting movement modules in a sequence the Code-a-pillar™ will ultimately follow. Through this process, students will be able to develop a hypothesis of their planned robot movement by placing physical direction tiles in sequence. They can then attach the various movement modules of the Code-a-pillar™ to match their plan, test their program and make adjustments.
Using robots like the Code-a-pillar™ brings coding to life and gives students a solid introduction to computer science. The teachings of physics concepts will help even our youngest students begin to understand how the world around them works.