BRONXVILLE, N.Y. - Several of Bronxville’s best and brightest students took center stage recently, programming robots during “Boys Code Night” at the middle school.
Bronxville Middle School students had their problem-solving, critical thinking and innovation skills tested at the popular event, which sees students take on increasingly difficult computer programming and coding challenges.
According to middle school teacher Lynne Torrey, who taught the session in the school’s Flexible Innovative Technology Lab, she sought to “introduce students to a coding tool that would challenge them,” regardless of their programming experience.
This year, students participated in programming exercises on the iPad application Tickle, which allowed them to control small robots called Spheros.
As part of the district’s “Bronxville Promise” mission statement, the coding exercises offered students the opportunity to experiment with the technology, collaborate with their peers and work together to expand on their own thoughts and theories.
“The students created a program that directed a whale to spin around in a circle,” she said. “Then they worked on increasingly more difficult challenges, including programming the whale to respond to touch and the tilt of an iPad. During the second half of the session, they used the same programming tool to control the Sphero that was paired with the iPad via Bluetooth.
During “Boys Code Night,” the students discussed the importance of robots as a tool to aid humans in the workplace with tasks that are mundane or dangerous. Ultimately, their Spheros were able to traverse a maze built from duct tape, boxes and plastic CD cases that were stacked to form impromptu towers.
“(The students) and to pass by the maze as they walked in and one boy asked if the tower was designed for them to knock down,” Torrey mused. “When I said that it was, he walked away smiling and waited for his chance to program a robot to crash into the tower.”
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