Macon, Mo. — Fourth grade students at Macon Elementary School are learning how to code – using robots.
But, they say it’s so fun – it’s more like playing a game.
In Mrs. Meisner’s Library Technology class, students as young as first grade are learning coding.
“I think I learned how to type in eighth grade, so it’s kind of crazy that I have first graders on the iPads working with ScratchJR and coding, so it’s quite impressive to me, and to a lot of people, what the kids can do this young,” Meisner said. “Just seeing their interest level grow already, I’m excited to see what they’ll do in their future.”
Meisner meets with students from kindergarten through fifth grade once a week.
She said the fourth-grade students first learned the basics through code.org, then in the past couple weeks, started using robots, like the Sphero minis.
“They’re just super fun to move around,” said fourth grade student Javen Ellis.
Meisner told KTVO she is fortunate to have materials and resources available to use with the students.
“We have one to one iPads here, two to one Chromebooks, I have the Spheros, which the fourth graders have just started recently, we have Breakout EDU boxes, lots of different things,” she explained.
The class has the students thinking about their future in tech.
“This class teaches how to program robots like little Spheros to go through cones and commands, so once you get older, you can create your own video game if you want,” fourth grade student Aiden Koch said.
“My favorite part is that you can learn how to program robots, so if you want to program when you’re older, it gives you an ability to learn now,” classmate Adalyn Stephenson said.
Meisner says students might feel like they’re just playing games – when they’re really using math, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.
“They love it, they love spreading out, getting on the floor, problem solving, and a lot of times my favorite part is not telling them exactly what to do, but give them an idea of a challenge, and then they come up with something creative in how to solve that,” Meisner explained.
Aiden told KTVO while he enjoys working with the small robots, it can still be a challenge.
“You can program a robot, but you still have to use math, because you have to change the degree for which way you want it to turn,” he said.
Next up, the students will be creating a mini golf course and bowling alley with the Sphero mini devices.