Students celebrate the art of programming

MACKILLOP College’s robotics club paid a visit to John Paul II Catholic School last month to display its creations and nurture the art of programming in younger students.

The club showcased its robotic inventions to the school’s grades four, five and six classes before working in teams with the younger students to help them advance their own creations.

John Paul II Catholic School principal Fran Bearman said the robots displayed on the day were “amazing.”

“Some of the robots were even sensitive to sound, so they could change direction based on claps,” she said.

“It was a great learning experience for the students and the project was very positively received – everyone involved did a wonderful job.”

Seeing the benefit of the robotics club at MacKillop, John Paul II established its own Lego Robotics program earlier in the year.

Running once a week during lunchtimes, the program’s core skill development coincides with the school’s focus on STEM learning (science, technology, engineering and maths).

“The students had expressed interest in learning more about programming and we thought it was a great idea,” Ms Bearman said.

“Students meet to build their robots each week and once the robots are ready to be tested, they use laptops and iPads to program the robots to move and follow instructions.

“Team work builds problem-solving and perseverance, and coding skills are very relevant to future occupations.

“These are great skills for any young person to have as they move out into the real world of work.”

Ms Bearman said John Paul II had a strong connection with MacKillop, as it was the secondary college of choice for its students.

“Now that we have correlating robotics programs, the students can continue their robotics to the next level of the challenge,” she said.

Caption: Mackillop College students Sebastian Lang, left, and Alex Kershaw, far right, joined John Paul II Catholic School students Bella Smithies-Sharples and Joe Petrusma, pictured centre, to showcase their creations as part of the Lego Robotics program.