School Dispatch: Technology makes things efficient, amusing at Maret

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by Ms. Lisa Tomasi-Carr’s Maret First Grade Class

This week in technology class we are working on coding efficiently. We started with a robot and four blocks. Our goal was to have the robot touch each block once and knock it over. Step by step the code used thirteen steps, but we wanted to make a more efficient code. We used the “Repeat 4 Times” command to tell the robot to touch the four blocks. That used a lot less code.

After we worked on one code with our whole class, we practiced again with just one partner. Each partner used a Dash Robot, an iPad, and four blocks. We began by writing the code for single step-by-step commands. The first thing we did was connect our iPad to our Dash Robot. Then we wrote the code with no repeats. The code was: forward 50, backward 50, turn left, forward 50, backward 50, turn left, forward 50, backward 50, turn left, forward 50, backward 50, stop. Once we knew that the code worked, we tried to make it more efficient. We put one set of the pattern, “forward 50, backward 50, turn left,” into the “Repeat four Times” bracket. So now we used one repeat command instead of twelve separate commands. We think that is a lot easier for a robot or a person to remember. 

It wasn’t always easy. One time, one of our robots went cuckoo and went all across the first grade classroom and was pushing a block between someone’s leg. That was funny!