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Parkview Students Enjoy Addition of Robots to STEAM Program
By Dawn Miller,
MILLTOWN, NJ - The Parkview School's STEAM program recently got a new addition courtesy of a grant from the Milltown Education Foundation. Parkview's kindergarten through second-graders have been having a great deal of fun while learning all about coding and programming during their library specials.
STEAM is an acronym for Science-Technology-Engineering-Art-Math. The program isn't just an educational buzzword. STEAM education is designed to introduce kids to science, technology, engineering, art and math through hands-on activities. The ultimate goal of STEAM education is to get kids interested in STEAM-related subjects and potentially careers. While all kids won't necessarily pursue a profession in those fields, they will have had exposure to them and a general understanding of what they entail.
Parkview Principal Eric Siegel is the Milltown School District's administrative liaison to the Milltown Education Foundation and when Media Specialist Amy Klinger saw the KIBO robots in action at a technology professional development workshop she was inspired. Klinger wrote a grant through the Milltown Education Foundation to purchase a class set of the KIBO robots for Parkview. The robots were added for this year.
"Parkview School has been able to expand STEAM focused lessons with the addition of KIBO robots that let students in grades K-2 build, program, decorate and bring their own robot to life," said Milltown School District Superintendent Dr. Stephanie Brown. "Students learn to code and program by using bar-coded blocks and KIBO’s scanning feature. They can program KIBO to move in a multitude of directions, flash colorful lights, make sounds and even follow sound directions."
The great thing about KIBO robots is they don't need a desk top, tablet or smartphone to operate them, which means students aren't being exposed to additional screen time. Instead, students get to let imagination and creativity take over.
Klinger incorporates the KIBO robots into media lessons to introduce the kindergarten, first and second grade students to beginning coding and programming concepts. Kids of course love the opportunity to build a robot that does what they ask.
"The best part about KIBO is how it provides a friendly, hands-on way to familiarize students with the basics while still being about play," Brown added. "In our technology classes, students are learning to code and have an introduction to robots by completing projects such as creating class pets that can do tricks, dancing robots that can bust a move and creating dream vehicles that can traverse a fictional town."
The Milltown Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports the Milltown's Parkview and Joyce Kilmer Schools, helping to bring STEAM programs like the KIBO robots to the district's students.