MacICT visited a small rural school in Bribbaree during Term 3 of this year to conduct a robotics dance camp with select students from several neighbouring schools. A class set of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots were supplied and accompanied John Burfoot, MacICT’s lead robotics facilitator, on his four-day round trip to Bribbaree.
John designed the two-day workshop with Bribbaree PS Principal, Craig McMahon. Craig is passionate about STEM and STEAM activities that are engaging and help foster 21st Century skills of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity, especially for students in remote areas who might otherwise not receive the opportunity. “Craig liked the idea of providing students with enough scope to use ICT and mathematics knowledge in choreographing dance moves with the robots, while also offering students creative license in designing their dance routines and any costumes or props for their final designs”, said John.
32 local Grade 5 and 6 students participated in the event, which consisted of all-day training on Day 1 in using the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 hardware and software, a camp fire dinner and sleep over in the evening, an early wake-up and camp-style breakfast in the morning, before designing and choreographing final routines for the Dance performance on Day 2. Most of the students had no prior experience using educational robotics before the camp. All students worked in pairs and collaborated on programming a unique dance routine to their chosen sound track. Parents and principals from nearby schools attended the afternoon’s performance and were just as thrilled as the students who participated.
Some of the dancing LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots designed by students
Though MacICT conduct most of their learning experiences for students and teachers within the Macquarie University campus at North Ryde, it was an exciting opportunity to collaborate, co-construct and deliver an ICT program with Craig at his local school. “Robotics Education is a wonderful resource to use in schools as it addresses so many learning outcomes from many syllabus areas. We feel privileged to support schools in this area, and especially teachers and students from remote areas who may not have the opportunity to come to us”, says Cathie Howe, Centre Manager of MacICT.