Lower School Receives Technology Grant
Posted 12/05/2014 12:55PM

Carolina Day School has received a $1,000 technology grant from the Toshiba America Foundation. Grants are often few and far between, so this is a great opportunity for Carolina Day School. The grant will be used to purchase three additional Lego Mindstorm robotics kits. A team of four to five students can use each Lego robotics kit. With these additional kits, all 19 students in each third grade classroom can work together at the same time.


STEM Coordinator Ian Riddell, in partnership with Lower School Principal Kim Broshar, developed a workshop for third-graders using these kits that emphasizes design-based style of learning. Students are posed a series of open-ended challenges, and need to design a unique solution. Students will learn to use electrical engineering to give the robots power, computer science to program them to move, and geometry to chart the robot’s course. Topics from other subjects, such as social studies and math, will also be tied in. In addition, students will build their writing skills by reflecting on their work and publishing their progress to a webpage. They will also build their teamwork and leadership skills by working together on the project. Students will deepen their understanding of Asian geography and the exploration of the continent of Asia by designing a project that uses their robot to meaningfully illustrate a concept from this Social Studies unit.


In the fourth grade, students have the opportunity to join the First Lego League Robotics team. Since third-graders are going through a robotics workshop this year, the fourth grade will have group of experienced Mindstorm builders to select from next year.


The following information outlines the details of the third grade robotics workshop.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Mechanical engineering: through building a mechanically sound mobile robot, each student will learn the basics of how axles, wheels, and other movement-related components work together.

  2. Electronics: students will connect the mobile robot electrically using wires and see how those connections function.

  3. Computer programming: in order to make the robot move once built, then connected electronically, students will program the computer inside the robot to determine its specific movements.

  4. Decimals, angles, geometry: if students want the robot to move specific distances, they will have to use math. They’ll need to use decimals to make the robot turn and move when they want it to, angles to make it turn a certain amount, and geometry to map the full robot course.

  5. Design-thinking: after students make their robot move over a teacher-designed course, they will be able to use the robot components to design a project that is designed to illustrate and educate on a topic from their Social Studies curriculum (i.e. Asian geography and exploration).

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