messages-image165421171Give Something Back recently partnered with After the Peanut, LLC and Fairmont School District 89 (Illinois) to develop real-world STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum during the school day. Give Something Back funded the use of Ozobot robots for students in grades 4 through 8. The students are exploring different activities that test critical thinking and force students to think creatively. After the Peanut’s mission is “to transform the world by solving problems through innovation, creativity, design thinking and collaboration” and it blends perfectly with the desire of Give Something Back to assist the district in the area of science and math.

The first lesson students completed involved navigating the robots from the messages-image1969785129“houses” to the local post office on a map. Once they were able to complete this first step, the students were asked to make the same movement, only with a new element: a river running between home base and the post office. The students had to think creatively, using coding to direct the robots past unforeseen impediments like this. Student excitement was evident once they realized the robots need to jump over the river. Though new elements initially stumped many of the students, their tenacity superseded one problem at a time.

One teacher, Katelyn Lussow, explained some of the practices used so far to come to different conclusions when completing various tasks. Some of the engineering practices included:

  • Ask questions about what would happen if a variable is changed.
  • Identify scientific (testable) and non-scientific (non-testable) questions.
  • Ask questions that can be investigated and predict reasonable outcomes based on patterns such as cause and effect relationships.
  • Generate and compare multiple solutions to a problem based on how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the design solution.

The Ozobots have been an extremely positive addition to the day-to-day learning in the classrooms. We are thrilled with this new partnership and look forward to watching the development of our students through the use of the Ozobots!