Published on: 1 March 2018

While not every student is destined to become a programmer, boys in our Preparatory School have taken on a fun and engaging project involving robotics as part of the Australian Curriculum’s push for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) in schools across the nation.

The School this year acquired 30 mBot Robot kits for boys in our Prep School to develop hands-on experience in programming, electronics and robotics. Boys undertaking Digital Technologies classes in Years 5 and 6 have been the first to trial the kits which involves assembling the mBots from scratch and programming them to perform certain tasks with the help of an iPad app. The class aims to provide Prep boys with coding experience, as well as computational and algorithmic thinking ability.

“Coding is ever increasing as an important skill in school curriculums around the world and as we look to the future, an understanding of coding language will be one of the most important points on future resumes,” says Christ Church program lead and Computer Science Teacher, Jan Honnens.

“Coding is a fabulous way of getting more STEAM into the lives of our boys. The robots provide the boys with instant visual feedback to their code and can be equipped with a range of sensors and legs, making the robotics learning journey endless. When coding the robots, the boys have to develop their ideas and thoughts in a structured way. Their improved mastery of sequential and neatly structured thinking is bound to transfer into their other subjects and activities at school.”

Each mBot operates on Scratch 2.0 code and contains 38 assembly parts which are colour labelled for user convenience.

In coming weeks, the boys will be introduced to the programming language Python and will be coding the BBC micro:bit, as well as learning basic web design.