Our First Family Robotics Morning

Jennifer Wallace

On Saturday October 16th we held our first family robotics morning at ICS Côte d'Azur. We invited PY3/4/5/6 families to join us in The Hub (our STEAM lab) to learn more about how our school is developing the essential skills of coding and robotics with our Head of School, Amanda Scott, and PYP Coordinator, Janet Goswell.

STEAM and innovation are integrated into the teaching and learning at our school from KG1 to PY6. As our students will be the designers and creators of tomorrow, we wanted to give them the opportunity to share with their family members what they have been learning in The Hub with the LEGO® Education robotics kits.

Amanda Scott kickstarted the morning with a short presentation about the ways in which we use the LEGO® Robotics kits at ICS Côte d'Azur. In her own words, working with LEGO® Robotics encourages students to "collaborate, problem solve, and try something, fail, and then pick themselves up to try again - it builds resilience." It also "...prepares them for jobs that haven't been invented yet, as they learn to embrace challenges as a team and look for creative solutions to problems that they care about."

Students and their families were grouped into teams of two and three, and were given free rein to build and code the robots of their choice. New students to the school who had not yet had a chance to work with the LEGO Robotics kits were paired with students who had, so they could give them a helping hand. After all, who better to teach our new students than their own classmates!

In an hour most teams had built and coded three to four robots. We saw helicopters that could lower a winch to rescue pandas, a cleaning truck that could scoop up litter, a formula one racing car (complete with sound effects), a robot that detected strangers with a motion senser and made a warning sound, and a spinning, flashing windmill. 

Our ICS families were very impressed with the speed and agility with which our students built their robots, and many were very keen to take a hands-on approach and build their own. At the end of the morning, each team could present their robot (in English or French) and give a short demonstration of what they had coded. We were very proud of the way in which our students showed confidence and pride in both their robots and their ability to address a room full of adults - no easy feat!

This was our first in a series of robotics mornings at school and we look forward to future events. As one parent said: 'My son couldn't wait to come to school on a Saturday - he just loves it!'