Robotics Helps Put the “C” in St. Thomas More’s C+STEM Program
One of the continued favorite STEM programs that we began at St. Thomas More more than six years ago is the LEGO robotics program. The program quickly grew into a beloved STEM experience for all students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Robotics embraces the hands-on experience of learning to code and program, while each unit folds perfectly into the existing science curriculum for every grade level. Each K-6 class has a few rotations during the school year with the WeDo2 units, and 7th and 8th grade are further challenged with Mindstorm EV3.
LEGO robotics works beautifully to support the Catholicity of our C+STEM program. Connections are made between these robotic science units and ways we care for earth’s resources. The call to action for the care of our common home, “Laudato Si’,” given to us by Pope Francis is a great example of how students can use our science lab to solve problems and discover science as a way to serve. Many of the projects have an open-ended aspect, which engages students in using problem-solving skills with real world problems and creating possible solutions. Examples of these open-ended projects include: protecting wildlife; prediction and rescue devices for flood, fires, and earthquakes; cleaning pollution from our oceans; and protecting our natural resources.
The best part about St.Thomas More’s robotics program is the integration throughout the science curriculum for all students in grades K-8. This was the preferred route, allowing students to expand on classroom science lessons and go into the lab and collaborate, rather than an after school program engaging only a handful of students. It has been a success. No matter the age, every student loves their turn with LEGO robotics!