Nov 15, 2020 12:01 PM

🎥 O'Loughlin kids get taste of coding through robotics program

Posted Nov 15, 2020 12:01 PM
O'Loughlin fifth-graders Addy Day and Lauren Smith demonstrate their coding skills with a Lego robot to Hays school board members Tammy Wellbrock and Mike Walker as their teacher Gina Johnson looks on.
O'Loughlin fifth-graders Addy Day and Lauren Smith demonstrate their coding skills with a Lego robot to Hays school board members Tammy Wellbrock and Mike Walker as their teacher Gina Johnson looks on.

By CRISTINA JANNEY
Hays Post

Students at O'Loughlin Elementary School are getting a taste of careers of the future. 

The students are using basic coding skills to program robots.

Gina Johnson, Roosevelt fifth-grade teacher, wrote and received two grants for Lego robotics kits — the WeDo 2.0 and Lego Boost.

"What started out as an hour of code in my classroom a few years ago has morphed into a view for the future — a real opportunity that could be one of their jobs someday," she told the Hays school board at its meeting Monday night. 

"The odds that a student is hired for a job that uses some sort of coding is pretty remarkable."

O'Loughlin fifth-grader Trent Ryan and Larry Denning control a robot using their iPad as school board member Lori Hertel and teacher Gina Johnson look on.
O'Loughlin fifth-grader Trent Ryan and Larry Denning control a robot using their iPad as school board member Lori Hertel and teacher Gina Johnson look on.

In 2015, more than 70 million jobs used some form of coding, Johnson said. Many of these were outside of the technology field in industries such as arts, building and health care.

"I think giving them a glimpse at fifth grade opens up a whole different world of opportunities," she said. 

The kits allow the students to code and then see their output.

"You see real collaboration. You see actual problem solving. It doesn't go well the first time," Johnson said. "Sometimes there are mistakes and you can't figure out where the mistakes come from and why it won't do want you want it to do. They grit their teeth and put their heads down and push through it."

O'Loughlin fifth-graders Kesa Tsereteli, Evie Dietz and Emily Zolnierz demonstrate a Lego robot for school board member Allen Park at the Hays school board meeting Monday night.
O'Loughlin fifth-graders Kesa Tsereteli, Evie Dietz and Emily Zolnierz demonstrate a Lego robot for school board member Allen Park at the Hays school board meeting Monday night.

Teachers from O'Loughlin shared other ways students are using technology in their classrooms.

O'Loughlin staged an election pitting chewy candy against chocolate. 

They made persuasive commercials on why fellow students should vote for their "candidates."

Chewy candy won the day.

Second graders researched and wrote short essays about animals. The students could use the program ChatterPix to animate their essays. The students read their essay aloud and the program made it appear their chosen animal was reciting the essay in child's voice.