Using Technology in the Classroom: The Iditarod

  • Educational Technology
Jamie Mathews, 4th Grade Teacher

Our fourth graders took the Iditarod sled race to a whole new, tech-driven level this year. In collaboration with our educational technology team, the 4th grade teaching team used Spheros and GameMaker to provide authentic, hands-on and engaging STEM experiences for students.

Sled Dog Training Camp with Spheros

Students took part in a Sled Dog Training Camp. At this camp students trained robotic Sphero “puppies” by learning how to command the robots with code. They were tasked with teaching their dog different tricks using block coding. Some of the tricks included getting the Sphero to run at different speeds, stop at a specific spot, and navigate complicated paths. Just like puppies at home, students found that the robots did not always follow the commands as anticipated, but they learned that programmers debug code to fix problems. With some practice and determination, students soon had their robot dogs showing off all of the great tricks they had learned!

Coding a Sled Dog Team Game Using GameMaker

At Empow Studios in Lexington, we learned how to code our very own video games using GameMaker. Students coded every aspect of their game and found that there are many layers to game development. In their games a dog sled team is racing to the finish line but must dodge between trees and pick up bones along the way. Students were put to the task of developing a background, inputting characters and obstacles, setting commands, and making sure every aspect of the game interacted in the right way. By the end, students had a finished product that anyone can play!

Coding at Empow Studios  

  • Curriculum
  • Fab Lab
  • Project-Based Learning
  • STEM

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