Teachers Learn With Lego Robots

Teachers Learn With Lego Robots
Posted on 11/19/2019
A group of Montclair elementary, middle, and high school teachers participated in a STEM Education program that was focused on integrating math concepts and deepening math comprehension and application with the hands-on use of the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot. This group (teachers Candice Anastasi, Amir Doctry, Scott Feinstein, Delia Maloy Furer, Catherine Kondreck, Ravan Magrath, Jeanette Rodriguez, Todd Smith, Emma Tami, Daniel Taylor, Deborah Thomas and Drury Thorp) explored methods of addressing traditionally difficult math topics through practical application using the robots over a three-day period under the guidance of master instructors Dr. Laura Pyzdrowski and Dr. Anthony Pyzdrowski from NDEP/nCASE.  Participants engaged in activities related to solving multi-step equations, finding patterns, robot construction, coding, and graphing.  Teachers used their newly acquired skills to build and program a robot that met defined criteria during the third day of the workshop.  Furer, from Glenfield Middle School said, “This was, hands down, the most applicable and engaging workshop I’ve attended in over twenty years of teaching. This kind of instruction is how we build future engineers.”  

                         teachers pose

Students will develop a deeper and lasting understanding of normally elusive mathematical concepts by engaging in inquiry and design-based methodologies like the ones presented in this workshop.  Learners have the opportunity to better synthesize abstract concepts when they are challenged to find the solution to a problem through real application. The teachers who participated in this workshop had the opportunity to experience this phenomenon first-hand.  “I’ve seen students successfully use robots to learn, design, and realize their plans,” added Maloy Furer. “I hope these robots are used in math classes throughout the district.” 

teachers build robots   teachers build robots

“The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 workshop was outstanding!” commented Watchung's Thorp. “The facilitators walked us through several problem-based learning activities that culminated with a competition between our robots. It was helpful to actually work through the lessons in the same manner as we would turn them around to teach to our students. It was a perfect example of a hands-on workshop directly applicable to what we are teaching in our classes.”  

teachers talking   teachers test robots

teachers test robots  teachers test robots

The program was supported and implemented by NDEP/nCASE and funded by the United States department of Defense. Hosted by Shahram Dabri, STEM Manager and Maria Gonzalez, Picatinny Arsenal and Cassandra Maniero, U.S. Army Futures Command, the workshop was presented by nCASE staff member Kim Dillinger and master instructors Dr. Laura Pyzdrowski and Dr. Anthony Pyzdrowski.
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