HPU Hosts Local First Graders for LEGO Robotics Showcase

HPU Thomasville Legos 3

Dr. Shirley Disseler, assistant professor of education at HPU and member of the LEGO Education Advisory Panel, works with a first grader.

HPU Thomasville Legos 1

HPU student Kaila Tuccio helps first graders Samaria Lindsey, Clarissa Aguilar and Canilya Powers with their robotic project.

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 20, 2014 – More than 100 first-grade students from Thomasville City Schools learned through LEGOs at High Point University yesterday, and 100 more will do the same today from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The first-graders took part in a LEGO Robotics Showcase, working with robotics, math story problems and read-alouds to enhance their understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). They also took a tour of campus to get a sense of what college is like.

“The students love this,” says Erma Abrams, a first-grade teacher at Thomasville Primary. “This is the first time many of them are working with this type of technology. They have to look at the design to figure out how to build the machine, build it and then hook it up correctly to the computer to make it work.”

“It’s good for them to learn to work together like this,” adds Rosemary Williams, from Thomasville Schools. “Normally they aren’t this calm when they work in teams.”

“Our hope is that these students see math in a different light, because most students do not like the structured manner and nature in which it is taught in schools,” says Dr. Shirley Disseler, assistant professor of education at HPU and member of the LEGO Education Advisory Board. “This allows them to use math and see it in a different way. We also hope the teachers learn some new ways to motivate students in math.”

The event also serves as great real-world teaching experience for HPU students. Students from the School of Education are assisting with the two-day event by hosting STEM learning stations. The stations allow the elementary students to learn about geometry, measurements, math story problems and more.

“The HPU students get the opportunity to work with young children in building mathematical process, and to use some of the strategies they are being taught in classes,” says Disseler.

HPU hosts more than 1,000 students from area elementary schools every semester for events such as this. Disseler has previously taught LEGO showcase courses on HPU’s campus to local elementary and middle school teachers to enhance STEM learning in the classroom.

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