IGNITE Fall 2018 - Page 13

Robotics on a Budget Technology teacher Kimberly Hunter first discovered Ozobots at an AoP Tech event. “They were so fun and so easy to use, I thought they would be a great start for beginners,” she says. Appealing as the robots were, Hunter wanted to try them out before setting out to purchase a full set. The Ozobot Bit model currently retails at $59. Hunter had previously lent and borrowed supplies from other schools, in addition to working with the Uncommon Individual Foundation to try new tech. This time, she was able to borrow a set of Ozobots from the Delaware County Intermediate Unit’s lending library. She ran a few trial activities with her fourth through eighth graders using activities she found online. Younger students used the robots to complete an Easter egg hunt, while older students calculated the probability of Ozobots traversing specific paths. Fortunately, the robots were a hit. That year, the school’s tech department ran a penny war drive to raise funds to purchase the school’s own Ozobots. Armed with a full set of 18 Ozobots, Hunter and her students were set to explore everything the robots could do. A New Way to Compete — and Collaborate Hunter soon found there was no shortage of ideas for using the Ozobots to reinforce lessons about geometry, probability, and even art — all searchable online. Over the past year and a half, she has used the robots to conduct a number of timely activities including a trick-or-treating challenge and an Ozobot Olympics. Younger students command the robots by coloring commands on paper. Older students use iPads to code commands using the OzoBlockly app. Hunter’s classes typically work in small groups to complete a specific task, such as stopping at each house on a drawn map to gather Halloween candy as quickly as possible. For the Olympics, students were tasked with creating an original sports-related obstacle, earning points for creativity, robot speed, and teamwork. “In addition to the lessons themselves, students are learning to troubleshoot,” Hunter says. “Since they work together to code, they have to solve problems by listening to one another’s ideas.” 13