Dancing with Dash and Dot

May 11, 2018
Boys with Dash and Dot robots

Andersen Elementary second graders are having fun learning coding through Dash and Dot robots. They’ve even done some synchronized dances with them! (Watch the video below.) Teacher Carrie Carroll has incorporated the robots into all aspects of her curriculum. Coding serves as a foundational tool for building computational thinking skills that can easily be transferred into many subject areas.

Technology Innovation Coach Julie Balfanz explains...

“I am often asked why we are teaching coding to such young students. We teach science lessons to help our students understand and explore the world around them, and in the same way it is very important to teach our young digital natives computational thinking to help students understand their digital world around them. They will need to not only understand how technology works, but also how to control and creatively manipulate technology to help solve problems. Coding teaches problem-solving skills. Children develop new ways of thinking by breaking up big problems into smaller steps. Coding with Dash also helps take the fear out of making mistakes or failing. It teaches persistence in finding a way to solve your problem.

Coding at the early elementary level is best taught in a tangible way, through movement and imaginative play. Carrie Carroll’s students have been using LEGO to transform Dash robots into their own creation. She has her students think about how they can use movement, gesture, light, and sound to “design" their code. She also challenged her students to choreograph and code a synchronized dance performance. By infusing creativity, music, and even literacy into her computational thinking lessons she is able to incorporate the 4Cs (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication) in a really fun, hands-on way.”