Monday, December 12, 2016

Dash and Dot visit Newbury Elementary

Dash & Dot have visited with every K-2 class during Library  at Newbury Elementary School, and our 3/4 Owls are working especially hard on a backstory and programming that shares our school’s vision and mission with the next schools the robots visit.

The Owls have named the robots Harmony (Dash) and Nature Rocks (Dot) and are programming them to share Newbury’s vision of World Peace and mission of Harmony with Self, Others, and Nature. They are also working on explaining our behavior program, ROCKS (Respect,Ownership, Citizenship, Kindness, and Safety).  

The Kindergarteners created a basic storyboard for Dash and then partnered with students from older grades to do the programming. It was wonderful to see the multi-age collaboration and problem solving at work!

Over the next two weeks, we are hoping that the 5th and 6th graders will have time to program Dash and Dot to share “A Christmas Carol.” Our 3-6 grades are attending a production of that play this week. Hopefully, we won’t have any more snow days!



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Vermont Robot Rodeo Report makes it into Horizon Report 2016

So excited that the Vermont Robot Rodeo Project made it into the  2016 COSN Horizon Report K12 Edition  as Examples of Robotics in Practice!

From the 2016 COSN Horizon Report K12 Edition   on page 41

Robotics in Practice The following links provide examples of robotics in use that have direct implications for K-12 education settings:

It's a short blurb,  
Vermont Robot Rodeo 

Fifty schools across Vermont are participating in the inaugural Vermont Robot Rodeo. Participants can test out a cadre of robots, share best practices and learning strategies, swap robots for various projects, and learn coding basics.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

NEW Cubelets are here just in time for this years Robot Rodeo

Welcome to Robot Rodeo 2016-2017

We are getting ready to launch our second  Robot Rodeo
The Robot Rodeo will start in November 2016 and culminate in May 2017 at Vermont's Dynamic Landscape Conference.

Each school who participates will get to train a robot for ONE month. They will be asked to add pictures and movies of their robot's visit to their school.

If you'd like to HOST a Robot,  check out the HOST Schools Tab above and sign UP soon!

We are looking forward to another successful year and have a few new twist to introduce this year.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Robot Rodeo - Spring 2016

Thank you to all the participants and sponsors of our first Annual Robot Rodeo!

As you can see from the video below our first  Rodeo Rodeo was a huge success and we've had lots of request from schools who want to join.  The Robots visited 40 schools last year.    This year  we are hoping to expand the opportunities we can provide to introduce Coding and Robots to Vermont schools.

If you know anyone who would like to to sponsor a Robot to travel around the state to Vermont schools, where students will train it for the 2017 Rodeo, please send this to this page.    Each sponsor purchases the robot of their choice to be added to the fleet of traveling robots.

f you are a school who would like to participate in the 2016 - 2017 year please sign up here.  

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Come to the Robot Rodeo at Dynamic Landscape

What happens when  a fleet of 13 robots travel through 40 Vermont schools!   

Come find out at this year's Dynamic Landscape conference!

Visit the Innovation Lounge to watch demos of how students throughout Vermont learned to code our 13 robots -- training them for the Robot Rodeo on May 23 and 24!

Try one of the robots yourself and learn some new coding tricks!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Monday, May 2, 2016

Fwd: Movie

Ollie and the Cambridge Elementary soccer obstacle course!

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Fwd: E

Ollie arrives at Cambridge Elementary School. Hmmm, how about an obstacle course? 

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Dash & Dot arrive at St Albans Town Educational Center

What happens when you hand a group of 6th graders two iPads and two robots (still in their boxes) and tell them to see what they can figure out?
Stay tuned to see what else we discover!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Not Just Any Old Roomba!

The iRobot Create 2 came to visit Bellows Falls Union High School. At first, students scoffed at the Roomba with comments like "My Grandmother has one of those silly things that cleans her house!" With a lot of chuckling we fired up the beast and let it do it's demo self clean program in the classroom. Many students rolled their eyes. You could feel the attitudes saying "That's it!? Mr. Norkun really got us a vacuum cleaner? What are we supposed to do with this thing? "
The next thing we did was strip off the green cover to access some of the guts of the robot.
We spent some time navigating the robots website looking for ideas. There were claims that using scratch with some special plugins would allow for easy programming. We discovered that these scratch plugins weren't compatible with our Linux lab. So, back to the drawing board. We discovered that python was our best bet. I created a few lessons that directed students to use Codeacademy to learn some python basics.

#!/usr/bin/env python
import Tkinter
import tkMessageBox

top = Tkinter.Tk()

def hello():
   tkMessageBox.showinfo("Say Hello", "Hello World")

B1 = Tkinter.Button(top, text = "Say Hello", command = hello)

We downloaded a pre-configured python script to allow for tethered driving. From here we thought things were going to be simple, yet the robot revolt started. Somehow the script caused the robot to come alive. It decided to move really slow in a circle, without being connected to anything.

See for your self!

We ended having to perform open heart surgery on the beast to do a hard reset. Once that was done, and we were back online students continued to play with the code. 
The robot learned how to sing the imperial march, and navigate remotely. It tried to sing the super Mario theme and we will rock you, but it needs more practice. We had a lot of help from this document to understand how the ASCII commands were converted to binary on the fly. There are some handy dandy codes to help write music, and get the robot to respond to what we wanted. 

 We had the idea to mount an old netbook to drive remotely. We imaged the laptop with PeppermintOS and added all the necessary python programs  to talk to the iRobot.

 Some students had the idea of using the web camera on the laptop to create a live video and audio stream so the robot had "eyes." Then we used an android script to allow an android device to become a remote control that the python script would allow input from. we sent the live "eye" feed onto the projector in the classroom and we were off driving around the school, entertaining students and staff with some simple music. As iRobot drove around students realized that the laptop screen revealed all our secret code to any bystanders. We had to figure out a way to hide the screen but keep the "eyes" open. With some Linux bash script know-how we added some code that shut off the screen when the robot would deploy, this way the precious code was safe from peering eyes. 

Here are the  files we used to drive the robot around the school. 

The end result was something like this....(the code does actually play the Imperial March.) 

Finch Bot Evasion Code from Clarendon Elementary School

National Robotic Week

Did you know that the first week in April is National Robotic Week.

Thank you to the Vermont students who are training us for the upcoming Robot Rodeo in May
~  from  Vermont's fleet of robots traveling through Vermont schools

Learn more at

BB8 succeeds in the ramp challenge at RU

BB8 arrives at Randolph Union

Middle and high schoolers meet BB-8 in Media Center after school and figure out coding with the Tickle app. 
Getting the right speed is important. Too fast and off with his head!
Last week's challenge: make BB-8 go in a square. 
This week's challenge: a mini maze and the ramp! BB-8 does not not like steep inclines. 
Again, speed is important. Fun, fun, fun.

Michelle Holder, Library Media Specialist
7th grade Advisor

Lothrop_School_2nd GradeCoding with Ozobot

The Lothrop 2nd grade had a visitor - Ozobot! We learned how to code by hand with colors, then used Ozoblockly and our clever coding skills to make Ozo do great things. We learned shapes, math, and looping! Ozo is now off to visit Warren School. We hope he has fun times and learns great moves with the Warren students. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Pre-Kindergarten have fun with Cubelets at St. Albans City School

We have been studying magnets in pre-kindergarten and so the students were excited to see the magnetic blocks BUT then the power turned on and it blinked and moved.  We were amazed and had so much fun seeing what the Cubelets could do.   

Cubelets Meets Kindergarten Educators

Cubelets visited the Vermont Kindergarten Conference this past Friday and participated in the Coding, Robots and Computational Thinking Workshop.  Educators at this workshop were give the Cubelet blocks and ask to figure out what they were.  The discussion was fabulous and a lot of collaboration took place.  They explored what would happen if blocks were taken out or arranged differently.  

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Introducing Ferris, a WINK robot from Plumgeek

"Ferris" a Wink robot from PlumGeek Software
Meet Ferris.  Ferris is actually the Wink robot from PlumGeek Software.  The Wink robot has been designed to introduce programming to people who are interested as an entry point to learn how to write code and for experienced coders alike.  Using the Arduino IDE open source platform, code can be written to activate a host of exciting features that are built into the robot. These features include blinking RGB lights, actuators for movement, proximity sensors for obstacle detection, light sensors for following light and line detection and for some Winks, a IR remote to control those behaviors.

I named my robot Ferris, because I had some challenges getting him to school each day.  The challenge of setting up reminded me that sometimes Ferris just needed a day off.  Now that I've broken him in, he's been pretty dependable and can do some exciting things.

The first hurdle has been introducing the Arduino programming to High School students who've never written code in the Arduino environment.  PlumGeek has helped bridge the gap by providing a series of usable lesson plans and pre-loaded behaviors available for download on their website.

Fortunately, I've been working with a couple of classes at the Center for Technology in Essex.  The Computer Systems technology class and PreTech classes have been able to play with Ferris.  We've started doing basic coding, like learning how the lights operate, adjusting Ferris eyes to blink, change colors and emit different light levels.  I'm working with a student at the moment on obstacle detection, which Ferris is really good at.  The light detection sensor is very good, as Ferris seems to have a strong will to find a nice sunny space to relax in (don't we all).  Here's a little of Ferris in action (my dog does not care for Ferris - you might hear her whine).
Will Bohmann
Educational Technology Integration Specialist
Center for Tecnology - Essex

Friday, March 18, 2016

Peoples Academy loved Sphero

We were sad to ship Sphero off to the next school but we had lots of fun learning to code with him!

Thank you Robot Rodeo VT for such a fun and engaging learning experience for our students!

Shannon DeSantis
Library Media Specialist
Peoples Academy Middle School

Friday, March 11, 2016

Scribbler 2 Drew a Star and Decagon at Founders Memorial

Students in Mr. White's 4th grade class programmed the Scribbler2 to draw a star and a decagon. 

​Here is the Decagon!

Here is the Star!

Colleen Williams
Technology Integration Specialist
Authorized Google Education Trainer
Essex Town School District

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

First Graders at St. Albans City School Meet Cubelets

We have brainstormed a lot of names already:  Tiny Tim, Battlefront Bot, Star Minecraft, Q2, and Little Smart are some of the front runners.  It might be hard to decide on just one!

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Fletcher students revising code for Sphero

Emily DiGiulio
Fletcher Elementary School
340 School Rd.
Cambridge, VT 05444
(802) 849-6251

Sphero takes on the Fibonacci Spiral at Fletcher Elementary

This week, 5th and 6th grade students at Fletcher Elementary worked on programming the Sphero to follow the Fibonacci Spiral. Students used the Tickle app in the classroom to code connected squares that form a spiral shape.

Emily DiGiulio
Fletcher Elementary School
340 School Rd.
Cambridge, VT 05444
(802) 849-6251

Students at Moretown School program BB8 to go through a maze!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Dash and Dot Welcomed at Colchester Middle School

Sydney and Emily explore what Dot can do

Sphero Meets Peoples Academy Middle School

R2 Read 2 arrived right before Peoples Academy Middle School went on their extended winter break! Students had just enough time to start tinkering with our Sphero robot and learning what it can do. Our 7th grade students have been using their coding skills and the Tickle app for programming. We've taught R2 Read 2 some awesome tricks along the way- jumping and spinning across the library! (Video coming soon!) We are excited to continue learning and mastering our coding skills this month! Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Richmond Elementary Says GoodBye to Cubelets!

Students at Richmond Elementary School (RES) had a great month exploring Cubelets.  Students in Grades K -4 had a chance to explore them through after school programming as well as during school choice times and in the enrichment classroom.  We decided not to name the each time we built it, it seemed to have a different personality.  We wonder if the next school will come up with a great name?!

Here are a few helpful hints from our time with the Cubelets (we also included these on cards to travel with the robot):

*  There are some great lesson plan links at:

*  We used the following video (short and sweet) to give students an idea of the various ways the could manipulate the six Cubelets (and to challenge them to think beyond these seven ideas!) Students enjoyed how each robot had a name and they paused the video and tried many of the ideas:

*  We found that with six Cubelets and one power source that it was challenging to have more than two students building a robot at a time.  (This was a challenge, because the building was so fun, and in high demand.....but if we added more students then no one got to follow an idea through to completion...especially the first week!)
    *  One way we addressed this was by having Legos and the Lego extenders in a different space. This allowed students to build and design add on features while they were waiting to  build with the Cubelets.
    *  We explored the idea of having students draw designs out....but the creativity was more limited than if they built and tested directly on the Cubelets!

*  We had a flashlight accessible in order to further play with light sensor.  We also had a dark space in the classroom so students could move their designs in and out of the light without disrupting other class projects!

Overall we really enjoyed our time with the Cubelets, and students were sad to see them leave.  We are very grateful to the Vermont Robot Rodeo, and our sponsor Game Theory for this opportunity to learn and explore with a new tool!  We would love to add these to our classroom in the future, and are looking for ways to fund a kit of our own.

We are also excited to watch this blog and see what great things the next school creates.Happy Trails Cubelets!!! (Perhaps we will meet up again at Dynamic Landscapes??!)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Champlain Elementary

Hello Friends.
In this picture one of our students is using littleBits, with littleBits we have been making many things, including the tickle machine the vibrating handshake and the flashlight.

Champlain Elementary Makey Makey

Here is a picture of a group of students at Champlain Elementary playing with Makey Makey. It is so much fun!!! :-)

Champlain elementary makey makey

Hello friends!!
This is a picture of our friends at champlain elementary school

Champlain Elementary Makey Makey

Champlain Elementary Dash and Dot

Champlain elementary

Champlain elementary/makey Makey

Champlain elementary dash and dot

Champlain elementary using dash and dot