By Elishia Seals
Natalie Vanderbeck’s Title Math class students have been using KUBO, a small robot that teaches coding, for over a year. Vanderbeck has been integrating KUBO into her curriculum through a pilot program awarded to her with Pitsco Education.
Many of the students recognize KUBO when they enter the classroom and are excited to see it is a “KUBO day”. On September 11, before class began, Mrs. Vanderbeck introduced some special visitors – Nancy Peterson, Educator Insights, Pitsco Education; Rikke Paaskesen, Educational Curriculum Manager, KUBO Robotics Denmark: Jinny Christiansen, Head of Marketing, KUBO Robotics United Kingdom.
“Rikke & Jinny were on the team that helped build KUBO & they are here today to see how we use KUBO in our classroom. Isn’t that neat?” Vanderbeck explained to her students.
Peterson, Paaskeson, and Christiansen observed how students in each grade level at George Nettles use KUBO. They also joined the students and helped them solve their problems. They answered student questions about where they were from, how KUBO is made, and what KUBO can do.
Christiansen explained to a group of students trying to direct KUBO from one place to another, “KUBO can only do what you tell KUBO to do.“
Created in 2015, KUBO is a coding solution that uses physical programming language, the TagTile.
“Meeting the developers of KUBO was an amazing experience for our students and myself. Learning from and observing the developers as they interacted with kids was a learning experience for the students and me! We look forward to continue working with and learning about KUBO this year. Hopefully, the developers will return and see the growth students have made throughout the school year!” Says Vanderbeck.
After success in Vanderbeck’s classroom, the USD 250 Foundation wrote a grant request to ONE Gas. The Grant requested funds to purchase the Coding curriculum, Kubo, for each of the four Elementary schools in the district.
“We appreciate the USD 250 Foundation and Kansas Gas Energy for their grant opportunity awarded to us for the purchase of Pitsco KUBO kits for each elementary school. These kits will allow students at our earliest grade levels to get hands-on experience with the process of coding which will, in turn, help to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.” Says Dr. Brad Hanson, Assistant Superintendent of Schools.
Coding provides our students with the opportunity to develop college and career skills such as setting up a hypothesis, manipulating variables, testing their ideas, collecting data, and then analyzing and graphing their results. With the help of the ONE Gas Grant, Kubo provides the hands-on manipulatives that allow students to create, explore, and develop their skills for natural curiosity that leads to a conceptual understanding of computer sciences.
Thank you USD 250 Foundation, Pitsco Education, and One Gas for your continued support of USD 250 and our students.