Students in Carrie Dirksen’s 5th-grade Technology class at Maple Grove Elementary now have the opportunity to create and code using Wonder Workshop Dash robots. The Waukee Community Schools Foundation, in partnership with GreenState Credit Union, awarded Dirksen a classroom grant to fund the purchase of the robots. Dirksen was able to purchase enough robots to comply with district mitigation efforts, allowing for one robot for every two students.

Dirksen’s students worked with their partners to create a maze or challenge for their robots to move through. They then used their iPads and critical thinking skills to create code for the robot to perform different tasks and functions to successfully complete the challenge. Students even had the chance to try one anothers’ challenges!

Dirksen said some future project ideas involve having students use the robots to tell a story they have read or written. Students would draw pictures for the bot to travel to and then program the bot to tell a part of the story. This project would enable students to not only work on mathematical skills, but also reading and writing standards.

Dirksen envisions using the Wonder Workshop Dash robots with all of her K-5 students, and hopes to make them available to other Waukee elementary schools to borrow. The robots are also available for classroom teachers to enhance their curriculums.

As students work through the process of coding the robots, they are developing their logic, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Dirksen said these skills will carry over into other aspects of their lives as they practice persistence when faced with adversity.