iRobot Teaches Coding and Robotics to Lane School Students 

Story submitted by iRobot 

As a grand finale to National Robotics Week 2023, and welcoming in May, iRobot STEM orchestrated a robot takeover at Lane School in Bedford. Working with both Lane School Principal Rob Ackerman, Lane School Assistant Principal Keith Kinney, and Grade 5 teacher Stacey Williams and Grade 4 teacher Rob Ackerman to arrange the day, iRobot was pleased to introduce coding and robotics to students.  

With a case of iRobot Root Coding robots and some energetic iRobot volunteers spread over eight days, the group saw 19 classrooms of fourth and fifth graders (about 350 students).  A special thanks is due to the teachers who opened their classroom doors to this experience. This was a great event only 10 minutes from the iRobot headquarters, affording employees a wonderful opportunity to share their passion for STEM education and robotics. 

Each classroom was introduced to what robots are, how they sense the world around them and then turned loose with the Root Coding Robot and an iPad. Working in pairs, they explored the Level One graphical coding blocks and quickly advanced into Level Two. 

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While a learning event for the students, it was a great experience for the iRobot Education team to see the robot in action. As expected, the students were off and running with little to no direction. The intuitive nature of the robot allowed the students to create their own challenges and adventures. In addition, the social/emotional connections by working in pairs were self-evident. Students at Lane had a variety of experience in coding, all of which lent itself to students mentoring each other and sharing their knowledge.

iRobot employees were definitely impressed by the future coworkers – sharing their experience in Python, Java, and other forms of coding. 

Students used their learnings from math, geometry, and other classes as they ran for rulers and protractors to see how to use angles to create shapes. They built mazes and raced their robots across the school floor, some using the colored tiles on the floor to activate the robot color sensor. 

Their music class came into play as they coded “Ode to Joy” which they had all learned recently.  One even brought out his violin to sound the notes and pair that with the notes the robot can code. No tech learning would be complete without one fantastic student who managed to code “Never Gonna Give You Up” and play it on infinite loop. A perfect RickRoll with a robot.

Opportunities such as this empower and engage the students in ways they had not imagined. At iRobot, the STEM program enjoys inspiring students and making connections to the opportunities STEM provides.  

iRobot is grateful to the staff at the Lane Elementary School for letting the company take over the classrooms and hopes that students are inspired by the opportunities STEM provides. 

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