Can You Catch Wisdom Lane's Finch?
There is a Finch loose at Wisdom Lane Middle School! But it's not a bird, it's a robot! This year Wisdom Lane has introduced computer science topics in the one semester Computer Literacy program for sixth graders.
The computer science topics include computer programming, using the python computer coding language and programming a robot using code. Through the use of codesters.com, a coding environment, students learn to create animated digital projects using the python computer language. Additionally new this year in the class is programming a robot.
The Finch robot is able to be programmed through multiply computer languages. Wisdom Lane students are using the MIT Scratch coding language to code the Finch into certain movement behaviors. But flying is not among the many lessons students will be programming the robot to do, instead students will program the Finch to draw, avoid obstacles, speak, race and more.
The addition of computer science topics to the 6th grade Computer Literacy class has also extended to an afterschool coding club. In the club students are able to focus primarily on computer science topics and explore their interests in coding and robot programming.
The class and the club are taught by Frances Crusco who supports the STEAM educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for learning. Mrs. Crusco has seen firsthand how students take thoughtful risks through computer coding. Students are engaged in experiential learning with every string of code they create and test, through trial and error, until it works correctly. Using codesters.com students have demonstrated how persistent they are, persistent in problem-solving in order to get the code to create their vision. Some students have also become leaders in class as they excel in computer programming and teach other students how to overcome coding obstacles encountered.
The following are comments from students in the Computer Literacy class and coding club members. Elizabeth Albrecht, "Code lets me see what controls are used to make the robot move", Ronald A. Gray finds coding challenging and fun. Ceyda Nazli thinks "coding is cool to use" and Zain Khan is very curious about computers and is now happy he "can make something of his own".