Telling Greek Myths through Robotics

Second-grade students program handmade characters to present Greek myths.

What happens when you combine Greek mythology, KIBO robotics, engineering, and storytelling? Our grade 2 classes were faced with this challenge last week, and the results were outstanding.

As part of their study of Ancient Greece, second-grade students read and watched video retellings of classic myths, ranging from the story of Icarus, who flew too close to the sun with wings made of feathers and wax, to the tale of Persephone, who was stolen from her mother by Hades, god of the underworld.

In groups, students were charged to write their own version of one of the myths that they would present to the class. Then, they worked with Lower School Enrichment Coordinator Suzanne Casey and JK-12 Technology Coordinator Robin Ricketts to bring the stories to life through engineering and robotics.

Mrs. Casey worked with students to build colorful characters from the myths using only select materials such as paper plates, feathers, and pipe cleaners. They also drew detailed floor maps to illustrate a story space showing where the myth took place. The characters had to adhere to certain measurements to be able to fit securely on top of a KIBO robot, which the students programmed with Ms. Ricketts to be able to travel on its own across the story space as students read the story aloud to the class.

Mrs. Casey and Ms. Ricketts were excited to work with second-grade teachers Lyn Lunsford, Nancy Loyd, and Mary Ann Taylor to collaborate on the project and connect their various subject areas.

“With any subject, if you teach it in isolation, it doesn’t have as much meaning,” Ms. Ricketts said. “But if a child is solving a problem that involves something he or she has built or created, the child has more personal investment in that. Their understanding of the subject will go a lot further.”

In addition to the project’s cross-curricular nature, it challenged students to work together in groups, teaching them valuable life skills such as communication, sharing, taking turns, and remaining humble. The teachers incorporated deep reflection time for students throughout the project.

“Taking the time in our busy world to think about what we’re doing—what works and what doesn’t work; what we can do better next time—is critical,” Mrs. Lunsford said. “Sharing experiences helps us grow.”

The students’ handmade characters will be on display in the Lower School Innovation Station at the start of the 2017-18 school year.





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