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MĀKAHA: Robotics | 2019-2020

School: Mākaha Elementary
Grade Level: Grades 3-6
Teachers: Danielle Steger and Andrew Lu

Driving Question: How can we learn to think creatively, communicate effectively, and recognize, identify, and solve a known problem while modelling good sportsmanship and a competitive spirit?

What did the students DO?

Enduring Understanding: Students will build communication and problem-solving skills through an understanding of engineering and technology with lasting value beyond the classroom.

Students spent months designing, building, and driving their Vex IQ Robot to compete in the Squared Away Challenge Tournament. They learned to program using a VEX IQ robot and began the process of documentation through creating an engineering notebook. This process requires many skills such as problem-solving regarding mechanics, structure, and algorithms in relation to coding. Communication skills in teamwork, critical thinking, programming, and collaborative engineering design also came into play.

Participating in this league provided a real-world experience for their efforts outside of the classroom and also provided the students with the opportunity to interact with others in a professional manner amidst a real-world audience. They were also able to evaluate the successes and challenges in their design and show their good sportsmanship. Specifically, they were able to use what they have learned about engineering design to problem solve and improve their performance.

The teachers, Danielle and Andrew modeled exemplary preparation skills for the students with their Pre, On-site, and Post-visit experiences. Examples of this are as follows:

  • Pre-Visit: Build and test their robot. Program and test their code.
  • On-Site: Compete in the league challenge.
  • Post-Visit: Reflect in teams and then a whole group what went well for them at the meet and where they would like to improve if we are able to sign up for another tournament. Reflect on the seasons’ successes and challenges.
Place-Based Field Experiences/Connections

One of the regular Place-based Field Experiences these students had the opportunity to take advantage of was trips to Our Lady of Keaʻau, a retreat center nearby with a large swimming pool that could be used for practicing their underwater ROV robot simulations. This experience gave the students a competitive advantage over other teams without access to such a large under-water practice facility.

Students kept an ongoing engineering notebook tracking their daily goals, changes/decisions, accomplishments, and next steps. Students took their learning from this experience to use it to create their next steps in their robot design and driving/programming plan with the hope to compete in a future tournament.

Students built and rebuilt their robots several times, programmed and tested their code, and documented their work in their engineering notebook to get ready for tournaments. They have practiced the challenge and problem solved using the engineering design process and their GLOs. These students have achieved great success in collaboration, communication skills, and engineering. The tight-knit culture of this group demonstrated the strong relationship values with one another as well as with their tutors.

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Place-based Learning And Community Engagement in School

Place-based Afterschool Literacy Support

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Honolulu, HI 96822

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Site Designed By Created By Kaui