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Madison Middle School: Student Discover Coding and Building that Transforms
Madison Middle School: Students Discover Coding and Building that Transforms
For the last two months, Anna, Emely, Fatima, Liliana and Yadira walk into an old and dusty converted 55 plus year old woodshop to build, break, re-build and code a robot that would accomplish missions on the First Lego Leagues "Allied Animals" 2016-2017 game board. With Sunday, November 6, 2016 qualifying tournament as the target deadline for project completion, the determined students worked through iteration after iteration of their robot to perfect autonomous robot runs using a mechanical arm, trap door and color sensor under the pressure of the 2 minute, 30 second time limit. In addition, the students diligently refined research and teamwork presentations that would be counted toward their overall score and ranking at the qualifying tournament.
Beyond "Building and Coding"
The tournament has come and gone with a blink of eye with Anna, Emely, Fatima, Liliana and Yadira enduring 6 hours of tournament participation. Along the way, they experience joy, frustration, success and failure with laughing, smiles and tears. They learned to persevere to think critically, synthesize information and sharpen their teamwork and communication skills. Although the team outcome fell short of the students personal expectations, students gained foundational knowledge to many twenty first century skill necessary to fully participate in the global economy. Each girl walked away with invaluable skills that will translate into real life success.
Yadira, an 8th grade student who played a critical role in the team's success said, "we realized as a team that communication skills are crucial for our success. We needed to identify what was wrong with our robot and have a game plan as a group to make it better, and in the process not only I improved my communication skills, but gained valuable leadership skills." The team was very thankful for the opportunity to compete in such a tournament, as they realized that many of the skills they mastered throughout the process will be necessary once they enter high school and beyond. The team recognized that technical skills become secondary. "I feel that I have the upper hand in life because this competition allowed me to improve my decision-making, problem-solving, and communication skills," said Yadira.
Additionally, Fatima stated, "We realized that there were too many tasks for one student to finish...we were forced to trust in one another to make it a team effort." Lastly, Liliana realized failure was not an option. Minutes before making their final touches to a complex coding program and packing up for the tournament, their laptop battery died. When they booted up the program, they realized they had lost hours of precious tweaking of code. They wanted to quit and give up but through their team encouragement, they pressed forward for additional hours to re-create the program. "We realized we can overcome any hurdle...at the moment it seemed impossible," said Liliana.
"Kindle the Passion"
The Madison Computer Science and Engineering and Design Magnet strives to build foundational authentic literacy and mathematical skills while provide unique opportunities to allow students to discover their potential and passion in coding and gaming design, engineering and robotics, video and sound engineering and cybersecurity. Ultimately, it is our goal to spark a kindle that will ignite into a passion for learning and life that will fundamentally transform our students lives.