Robotics for students
Hands-on lessons in technology
By Angie Landsverk
After Sarah Tryba looked at the science curriculum for St. Peter Lutheran School’s seventh and eighth graders, she decided to bring robotics into the classroom.
“I wanted to try something relevant, to get students to experiment a little bit and see if it’s a career interest to get in later,” she said. “Robotics is already here.”
Tryba is in her second year teaching at the school.
Last year, she taught second grade.
This school year, Tryba teaches second grade in the morning and science and reading in the afternoon to the school’s older students.
“Mr. (Jeff) Miller needed more time to get his principal duties done,” she said.
Miller teaches seventh and eighth grades, while also serving as the school’s principal.
When Tryba decided to add robotics to her science lessons, she looked at various kits before settling on the LEGO Mindstorms EV3.
“I picked this one, because it had all the lesson plans with it,” she said.
Waupaca Foundry covered half the cost, and an anonymous donor covered the other half of it, Tryba said.
She said it is an investment for the school.
Over the course of the past several weeks, her students completed five challenges.
“The first challenge was to get the robot to follow the track,” Tryba said.
The next challenge involved the students having to build an attachment on the front of the robot.
Her students just completed the final challenge.
They maneuver their robot through a driving test, making it do such things as back up, stop and even parallel park.
Tryba borrowed a few toys from the pre-K classroom for that particular challenge.
The students had to parallel park around one of them.
“This is the part that’s all programmed,” Tryba said.
The challenges taught her students a number of lessons.
“They’ve learned the robotics aspect of it, the programming, how to put together different codes,” she said. “They had to work with their robots in different ways.”
Tryba said the students also learned how to solve problems, work as teams and be patient.
Students said they liked the challenges.
Eighth grader Quinn Dittmann said it was his first experience working with robotics.
“It’s kind of fun. There’s a lot of neat experiments we do,” he said.
Charlie Zastrow is a seventh grader, and she enjoyed doing the different challenges and working with a partner.
“I learned a little about engineering,” she said.
Seventh grader Shelby Hoewisch likes math and loved programming the robots and learning different things from them.
Many of the students will have the opportunity to learn more about robotics.
“It’s fun the kids get to have the experience,” Tryba said. “We will build on it next year.”