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Sunday, November 27, 2022

New Kensington-Arnold students learn programming with Bee-Bots – TribLIVE

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The gymnasium at H.D. Berkey Elementary School in Arnold was buzzing with activity Monday as the school’s first and second grade students were learning the basics of programming with the help of “bees.”
After two weeks of working with them, the school’s nearly 300 students broke up into teams to compete with their Bee-Bots, smiling black-and-yellow robots they program to move forward, back, left and right by pushing buttons.
The teams were timed in how long it took them to figure out how to program their Bee-Bots to get through a maze.
Principal Nicole Roberts said it was their celebration of National STEM Day, which is Tuesday, but her school celebrated Monday since students won’t be in class because of the election. “STEM” is short for science, technology, engineering and math.
Roberts said her school borrowed 144 of the Bee-Bots from The Education Partnership in Pittsburgh.
“STEM is something our kids don’t have a lot of hands-on experience with,” Roberts said. “We’re trying to make sure our kids get a lot of experiences.”
With eight mazes set up across the gymnasium floor, the student teams tried different ways to problem solve in figuring out how to maneuver their Bee-Bot through the maze. Some used a white board and marker to plot its movements ahead of time; others took their bots through the maze by hand, entering its movements as they progressed through it.
Five sixth grade students from Roy A. Hunt Elementary were there to help.
Working with the Bee-Bots was intended to introduce the students to the basics of programming, or coding, said Brad Malaspina, a technology integration specialist. It’s the first time the school has used them.
“The kids seem to really love it,” he said.
First grade teacher Alex Malits said the little robots were pretty cool.
“I actually wish we could keep them,” she said.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian by email at brittmeyer@triblive.com or via Twitter .
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