The time goes by fast when students are having fun with robotics.
At Mountain Vista Middle School, students have only 30 minutes to enjoy engineering, math, and programming with a Linkbot, a Rubik’s cube sized robot.
It’s a short period, so students scramble from the moment they enter the room to collect the Linkbots, and other supplies. Then they hurry to the computers to launch coding and software.
These motivated students have only a month of experience with the Linkbots, but students are eager to share the results of their programming. The various commands direct the path of the robots, and simulators show the robots trace lines over a grid.
“We can connect all the Linkbots, but we have to wait until we get more pieces before we can do something amazingly awesome,” seventh-grader Ben Stabiner said.
Teacher Cheryl Mostin is happy to hear that student say robotics class is their favorite. It’s one of several electives in Pride Period, a class period that is built in for enrichment and is not graded.
Principal Nikki Thomas explains that the period allows time for extra instruction for struggling students, but also provides enrichment for students who want challenges and stimulation. Struggling students can catch up and then be transferred into an enrichment elective.
Thomas brought the robotics class to middle school after she found out about a conference at University of California, Davis, which would prepare teachers for the instruction. The district supported the idea, and Mostin was eager for the opportunity to teach the class. She is learning along with the students and enjoying it immensely.
“I can’t believe what they can do already and they’re not afraid of it; they just embrace it,” Mostin said. “At first I thought the class may be too detailed and too academic, but they’re not letting it faze them at all.”