HS & elementary students “buddy up” for a hands-on robotics lesson


HS & elementary students “buddy up” for a hands-on robotics lesson

November 5, 2018

PA students worked on a robotics project.

Concentration and smiles filled the classroom. High school students huddled on the floor with their young coding partners as they worked together to make their robots perform a set of tasks.

Members of the new WVHS “FIRST Tech Challenge” Team recently visited Park Avenue third grade and Sanfordville fourth grade STEM classes to collaborate as the elementary students programmed their Wonder Workshop “Dash and Dot” robots.

As teams worked through the coding puzzles on Chromebooks, the elementary students were proud to demonstrate their coding knowledge as the older students asked thoughtful questions, offered hints and facilitated their young partners to success.

Learning to program is an integral part of STEM lessons, as coding supports students with their problem-solving and collaboration skills.

Third graders have learned how to connect their robots, open the coding tutorial puzzles and program the robots with their partners. The puzzles guide students through various coding tasks, such as adding loops and sequencing robot actions.

And when these young students enter the high school, a robotics team will be ready and waiting for them, by then a class of skilled and experienced programmers.


WVHS and PA students work together on a robotics project.

What’s the FIRST tech challenge?

Last year, WVHS Technology teacher Mike Stolt began organizing a FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, and this year the team is up and running.

FIRST tech challenge teams are challenged to design, build, program and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge.

Guided by an adult coach, student teams develop STEM skills and practice engineering principles, while realizing the value of hard work, innovation and sharing ideas.

Teams must also raise funds, design and market their team brand and do community outreach, for which they can win awards.


SES student who worked on a robotics project.

A win-win STEM collaboration for our students

As part of its community outreach effort, the WVHS FIRST Tech Challenge team came up with the idea of visiting the elementary schools to help younger kids code their robots.

Mr. Stolt agreed that it was a great idea, saying “Imagine the possibilities that getting younger kids involved at such a young age could open up for the future of our high school robotics program.”


WVHS student and SES students work together on a robotics project.

More coding collaboration to come

After the success of this first set of robotics visits, Mr. Stolt and elementary Instructional Technology Facilitators, Ms. Amanda Melican at Park Avenue and Ms. Brittni Troy at Sanfordville, hope to continue the STEM collaboration a few more times during the school year.

The elementary students really enjoyed working with older students with more robotics knowledge and experience. Said the elementary STEM teachers, “Our students can’t wait for the high school students to come back again!”

Mr. Stolt agreed, saying, “Collaborating with the elementary schools was a great success. My students told me they loved it, and seeing the excitement on the younger kids’ faces was amazing.”

For more photos, see the post on the WVCSD public Facebook page at:

Group photo of HS and PA students who worked together on a robotics project.

WVHS and Park Avenue students worked together to program robots.

Group photo of HS and SES students who worked together on a robotics project.

WVHS and Sanfordville students collaborated on coding for robots.



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