Students from the Middle and Upper School robotics programs visited fourth grade classrooms full of boys eager to learn from their older peers on Wednesday, October 25. The STEM experience included watching — and controlling — the robots that the older students had built. These robots will go up against other student-built robots in various challenges through upcoming local and regional competitions.
“Not only do you get the educational purpose,” said Chase Hurley ’25, as he explained the benefits of engaging in Gilman’s robotics programs, “you also get to incorporate fun into it.” And he certainly brought fun to the demonstration, encouraging boys to set up obstacles for the robot to navigate around, and, at one point, asking them to create a tunnel with their bodies for the robot to travel through.
“Our Upper and Middle School students do a great job of sharing their expertise and experiences with the fourth grade students,” said PK-12 Instructional Technology Coach/Mathematics and Technology Teacher Lynn Nichols, “and we are so proud of them for taking the time to encourage enthusiasm for STEAM with their fourth grade friends.” With different rotations of older students, the boys got to try their hands at completing their own challenges with robots and coding Ozobots (small, desk-friendly robots).
The fourth graders were excited to learn the robotics opportunities that lie ahead for them: All sixth graders participate in a full year of the technology curriculum, and in eighth grade, boys have the option to take another full year as an elective. In Upper School, robotics-focused students can continue their studies in this area — in ninth grade as an elective, and throughout their four years, as part of various robotics club teams. Katie Schmidt, Director of the Middle School Innovation Lab, commented, “This robotics showcase offers the older boys a chance to share their love for robotics, and it also serves as a way for them to hopefully inspire these younger learners to explore their own levels of interest in coding, programming, and engineering.”
A special thank you to the Middle and Upper School robotics enthusiasts who shared their expertise, as well as Schmidt and Nichols, both of whom coach Gilman robotics teams. Nichols said, “We are thrilled to be able to connect students across the three divisions in order to foster a love of robotics.”