Visiting a Robotics Team in Action

Posted by allisyn on

Think back to your own elementary school days. Could you have designed an innovative solution that preserved food and reduced contamination? How about a robot that conquered a set of pre-determined missions in 2 ½ minutes?  You don’t have to answer that.  But for the thousands of teachers and students who put in endless hours each year to compete in the LEGO Robotics Challenge – whose 2012 theme is Food Factor – it’s all in a day’s work.

As a former LEGO Robotics team coach myself, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for this competition. This year, I was thrilled to have the chance to visit the team at PS 261 in Brooklyn, NY, as they toiled away. I brought along a few other BrainPOP staffers, and we were blown away by the level of engagement we saw.  It was great to get out from behind our computers at work, into the classroom – and see first-hand how BrainPOP helped the students learn about relevant topics like Diabetes.  To capture the feeling, I wanted to share a few comments from my colleagues. Please read on!

A special thanks to the team’s coaches, co-coaches, and teachers: Scott Howard, Nadya Robinson, and 7th-grader, Elijah Robinson. We’re so impressed and inspired by the work you are doing! We’ll be cheering you on as you compete on Saturday!

Those kids have so much energy and enthusiasm for their work. It was a great experience for me, personally, to see how kids do projects in the classroom. It was also nice to see them work in teams; the two teams sharing information about each other’s projects; the fact they love BrainPOP; and how BrainPOP movies motivate them to learn even more.

~Tharaka Ranbadu, IT Manager

I was so thrilled to be invited to visit the Robotics club at PS 261. Having very little knowledge on robotics, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was blown away by how smart and enthusiastic the kids were about their project. There was so much excitement (and quite a bit of yelling) in that classroom as they worked together to complete the “missions” by programming the robot. The details of programming the robot were a bit over my head, but it was refreshing to see such an inspired and eager group of students work together as they prepared for this weekend’s big competition. Working more behind the scenes at BrainPOP, I don’t often get to talk to students about our sites, or see what they’re doing in the classroom, but it was so encouraging to see their eyes light up when asked about BrainPOP, and to hear how they used our movie on Diabetes as a starting point for the research aspect of their project. It was a great experience to not only hear the students talk first-hand about enjoying BrainPOP, but also to see their  dedication to this after-school team project.

~ Lisa Subrizi, District Relations Associate

My role as District Relations Manager really only allows me to work with teachers and administrators.  Having the opportunity to see students using our movies and content to bolster their after-school activities was amazing.  I really enjoyed listening to the research team discuss how they utilized our content on Diabetes to interview people living with Type 1 and 2 Diabetes.  The research team also used our content to create a paper that included those interviews and recipes that would allow people with Diabetes to decrease their dependency on insulin shots.  My other fond memory was watching the students work with the LEGO robots they created to do activities related to agriculture and food production.  I know that I work for a great company and have met a number of teachers who have reiterated that but it was really wonderful to see the effect BrainPOP has on students who have it at their school.

~ Alicia Cooper, Manager, District Relations

Learn more about New York City / New Jersey FIRST , a non-profit organization created to inspire youth to pursue further studies and careers in science and technology and to help students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to compete in the technologically-driven global economy. For more on the LEGO League Challenge, click here.