Contributed by Allison Flowerdew
I had the pleasure of joining Ms. Finnen’s Kindergarten classroom in January. As soon as I stepped into their classroom, a little boy came right up to me and said, “Thank you for KIBO.” It was so sweet! A few seconds later, a little girl said, “Thank you for KIBO.” My heart was melting! Almost every child thanked me for KIBO. By the time I left, I was a puddle on the floor! Ms. Finnen’s class gets an A+ in manners!
KIBO robot kits are designed for children aged four to seven and will be placed in every Yarmouth kindergarten and first grade classroom, thanks to grant applicants Cathy Wolinsky, Amy Finnen and Terry Lincoln.
The KIBO robot kit looks a little like a car. The first step in construction is to put wheels on the sides to make sure it will move properly. Then the children piece together a series of blocks that have bar codes on each of them. Each block represents a different action that can be combined in different sequences. Next, they scan the blocks with the KIBO car. When they press the “go” button, the KIBO will then perform all the block directions that the kids have outlined for it in a specific order. The blocks say things like “blue light on, turn right, shake, forward, backward or spin.”
These KIBO robots appeal not only to the tech-minded students, but also to the creative students who enjoy the design and decoration possibilities. The teachers like that the programming is done by physically building with their hands, as opposed to using a device with a screen.
While at Rowe I bumped into Jill Webber, the school nurse, who told me how exciting it was to see the kids work with KIBO. She mentioned that kindergarten teacher Karen Bradford said it best when she said it’s all about “the wondering of it all.” After the kids play with KIBO they often say, “I wonder what would happen if…” Gotta love the curiosity!