On May 21st, over 150 Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) families and students converged in the Kennedy-Longfellow School (K-Lo) dining hall for an evening of creative robotics, prizes, and pizza. K-Lo hosted the first ever CPSD “Robotics Playground” with the idea of sharing out classroom robotics and engineering curricula. K-Lo was in good company — with teacher and student teams from the high school, Amigos, Fletcher Maynard, King Open, Tobin, 8 middle school volunteers from Putnam Ave, and Ingrid Gustafson, who represents all of the middle schools.
We had a host of special guests, including Superintendent Young and Assistant Superintend MaryAnn MacDonald, two school committee representatives, Fred Fantini and Patty Nolan, Terry Gist, President of the Cambridge Education Association, a representative from the City Councilor Nadeem Mazen’s office, reps from the Best Practices group in the STEAM initiative being coordinated through City Hall, a representative from the Cambridge Expanded Learning STEAM Network, the director of the Elementary Education program at Lesley University, and 4 parent representatives from the KLO Site Council.
A favorite activity was the Lego Mindstorm “Sky Parade” – where participants crafted scenes to fly through the sky on the back of an “EV3” cable car robot. Several students, accompanied by their teachers, also shared their unique EV3 creations.
Participants jumped into exploring KIBO and BeeBot Robots, Lego WeDo kinetic sculptures, built their own DIY and bristlebot robots, and watched a screening of the Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School underwater robotics club in action.
It was super inspiring, not only watch the children at play, but also see their family members deeply engaged and collaborating in tinkering, building, and refining their creations. This was especially true of the non-tech robot making table, where an eclectic variety of robots were brought to life from simple recyclable materials. From low-tech to high-tech, this event brought out the maker in everyone who attended!