Students Use Robots to Learn about Erosion
Education grant sparks bright ideasBy Olivia Dela Cruz
At Uwharrie Charter Academy in Asheboro, students are using programmable robots to learn about ecosystems, erosion of shorelines and how they can take action to protect the environment.
This is all thanks to a project by Digital Learning Coordinator Marley Knapp and STEAM teacher Jessica Hoffmire, who received support from Randolph EMC through the Bright Ideas education grant program to implement their “Making Waves for the Environment” project.
The hands-on project taught students about the effects of water on banks and shores by challenging them to code and then maneuver programmable spherical robots through bins of water to create waves. The immersive experience gives students a chance to combine science with their own creativity and expression, prompting conversations and providing students with a deeper understanding of science standards.
The immersive experience gives students a chance to combine science with their own creativity and expression, prompting conversations and providing students with a deeper understanding of science standards.
“This Sphero Robotics project combines hands-on learning and coding with understanding erosion in the natural world,” said Nicole Arnold, a representative of Randolph EMC. “And if this weren’t enough, it’s incredibly fun!”
With this technology, fourth graders learned how to generate waves, which were used to measure and gather data on erosion and wave impact. Additionally, students created and designed ways to decrease erosion on banks and shorelines and were able to share their findings, come up with their own ideas for improvement, and work with their peers toward a common goal.
“The exploration that the kids are experiencing gives them the opportunity to make decisions and solve problems as a team,” Knapp said.
The Bright Ideas education grant program has been supported by North Carolina’s cooperatives since 1994. Since then, over $14.3 million has been given to thousands of projects in schools across the state. Nearly three million students have been impacted, including the bright students in this STEAM class.
About the AuthorOlivia Dela Cruz, North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives
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