The District’s Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program piloted the use of Lego Robotics in January 2018. When the popularity of the robotics portion of the program surged and earned a second-place project award at the Los Angeles Region FIRST Lego League, the program was expanded to include all students at the start of the 2019-20 school year.
Educational Technologies Coordinator Jessica Fineberg-Pardini said the program provides students with an opportunity to boost their engineering and coding experience with every grade level. Students start with simple builds and programs in transitional-kindergarten and advance until they can code and program the most advanced EV3 Lego Mindstorms in eighth grade.
“I had a student come into my office the other day, and he was so excited to talk about how they built the robots and how they used Chromebooks to run the programs,” Fineberg-Pardini said. “I think that is key because it means we’re engaging our students, and they’re looking forward to learning.”
Fineberg-Pardini said the program is important because it teaches students science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) principles, the design process and the importance of collaboration to create, test and improve bot designs.
Cleminson School fourth-grader Josemaria Barrera said he loves the Lego Robotics program because it sparks his creativity.
“I like to experiment and figure out what the robots can do,” Barrera said, snapping the final Lego block in place on a pulling robot. “Building is my favorite part because I can see how something can take form from a single Lego piece and transform into an entire moving masterpiece.”
Barrera said he looks forward to learning more in-depth coding techniques and seeing what he can create with the next level of Lego Robots.
“We are pleased to see so many of our students excited about our new Lego Robotics program,” Superintendent Dr. Maribel Garcia said. “Our Districtis always creating new ways to provide more STEM learning to our students because it improves their teamwork skills and promotes interest in engineering careers.”