Sunday, November 29 , 2015, 6:41 am | Fair 43º

LEGO at Laguna Gives Students Early Introduction to Robotics

By Jennifer Zacharias for Laguna Blanca School |

With technology moving so quickly, it's impossible to know what tomorrow will hold for today’s students ― especially the youngest learners. That's one of the reasons that Laguna Blanca School's Mission Committee and Lower School Head Andy Surber have made a commitment to incorporating classes and experiences that will develop successful "21st Century Learners," ones who are able to quickly adapt, problem-solve, collaborate,and advance in an ever-changing environment.

Laguna Blanca’s Lower School students are getting an early introduction to robotics through LEGO at Laguna, an all-new learning initiative being implemented at the school.

The goal of LEGO at Laguna is to provide students with a fun and interesting way to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. Developed as an introduction to building and robotics for elementary students, the LEGO robotics concept is a hands-on approach and curriculum, which will support not only the students’ math and science studies, but will provide additional learning opportunities with social studies and communication skills.

“Like many of my colleagues in academics, I’m inspired by the ever-evolving ‘Making and Tinkering Movement,' and it’s our goal to bring more hands-on learning into classrooms to fuel creativity and innovation,” Surber said. “Through LEGO at Laguna, we’re not only giving our young learners the chance to tinker and to learn by doing, but we’re also exposing them early to computer sciences, which in addition to being described as the 'new literacy' for the 21st century, provides foundational learning for a wide variety of careers.”

According to Surber, the course will create a solid foundation for students who choose to pursue co-curricular opportunities like Laguna's Middle School Coding Club and Upper School Robotics Club. But it will also ensure that they're successful ― as people ― throughout their lives.

Laguna Blanca Lower School science instructor Clara Svedlund will head up the LEGO at Laguna program, which will be incorporated into students’ curriculum for each grade. Designed for grades K-4, LEGO at Laguna will engage students in hands-on technology experiments that focus on science, mathematics, social studies and language concepts. Students will build LEGO models featuring working motors and sensors; program their models; and explore a series of cross-curricular, theme-based activities.

Additionally, to continue the learning along side the building aspect, students will follow an intuitive, easy-to-use software program through which they can quickly and easily learn how to write and download programs to their LEGO creations, while learning the basics of programming, engineering and constructing.

To kick off the LEGO at Laguna program, the Lower School will host a free build session on Saturday, March 1 starting promptly at 9 a.m. and ending at 10:30 a.m. The school welcomes students, parents and children (ages 4 to 11) in the Santa Barbara community to come for a fun, interactive, creative morning of tinkering, building and bonding with other fellow Lego-fans!

To RSVP for the LEGO at Laguna Free Build Session or for information about Laguna Blanca School, please contact Joyce Balak at 805.687.1752 x210.

— Jennifer Zacharias is a publicist representing Laguna Blanca School.

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