Take One Step at A Time

Last year at about this time, a few of my students and I wanted to learn how to make a robot. I had heard Gary Stager suggest robot building was one thing you could do with a laptop.

I had absolutely no experience or knowledge about making a robot, but I did learn enough to know that Lego Mindstorms NXT Software was a good place to start. Then I realized that besides lacking experience and knowledge, I also had no resources.

So, we temporarily gave up our dream of building a robot, and instead we learned to program on Scratch, which we thought was a step toward robotics.

Now, here we are just one year later. Things have changed, thanks to the State of Iowa’s Scale Up STEM grants. We received a grant to be part of the FIRST LEGO League and to receive a LEGO Mindstorms robot. Yesterday we took our robot, Roger, and competed in a regional FLL competition.

During the Robot Design challenge, Roger drove from base and onto the bridge without wavering. It was the most rewarding moment of competition!

On Saturday during breaks in the competition, we dreamed of how to extend our learning. We want to spend a portion of our remaining grant to get another robot, so the team can get better, but also so more people can learn to program robots. We talked about trying to do programming during part of our exploratory class and then have our own competition among teams.

These discussions were happening at the end of our competition. This was on a Saturday. They got up before dawn and drove 1.5 hours to be there all day long. These kids are passionate, lifelong LEARNERS!

I can’t help but think of what wonderful things are in store for us next year!

What steps are you and your students taking on the road to lifelong passionate learning?

5 thoughts on “Take One Step at A Time

  1. Denise – congrats to you and your students!! Keep following their passions!

  2. Hi Denise,

    Listening to your students’ passions, giving them opportunities to explore those passions, and following through is so inspiring! Thank you for all you do to create lifelong learners!

    Kind regards,

  3. Dear Joy and Tracy,

    Thanks! It’s easy to give them opportunities to explore their passions when I share the passions too! As my teaching has evolved, I have become more and more curious. I am loving learning beside them!


  4. I love how you have inspired your students and how a small dream grew to a big one! My 10 year old son expressed an interest in robots about a month ago and the Lego Mindstorm kit was under the Christmas tree for him – he is having a blast with it – I can’t wait to see what he comes up with.

    1. Thanks, Kelly! I am so excited for your son. He will be able to create all kinds of exciting things. I suggest you get in there and learn with him. It’s so rewarding.


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