Robots! Part 2



Robotic dogs called Spot and built by Boston Dynamics are demonstrated during the Amazon Re:MARS conference on robotics and artificial intelligence at the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 4, 2019. (Photo by Mark RALSTON / AFP) (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)



Back in January, I stumbled across a video of dancing robots, from Boston Dynamics.  Not only did the children in my classroom fall in love with robots and music, they have since then begged to watch this video every day.  Yes, every day.  On that day in January, I flipped out in the best of ways, showing children the video and saying, “Do you like robots?  Do you want to make robots?  You can do this!”  I was not calm, I was beyond excited because I knew this was ‘one of those moments’, where teachers are presented with a great opportunity to inspire children.  Boy, did I seize the moment.

This was IT, and I was leading children into engineering and technology.  The difference was the music.  Music is math!  And that component drew children into robotics.  As the days went by and we watched the video, children kept noticing something else, something more.  They always paid attention, and anything ‘new’ drew in every child.

In case you haven’t seen the video, here it is:

Children wrote and decorated a big letter to Boston Dynamics to tell them how much they loved the robots, especially Spot the dog, and I included a teacher letter, telling them that their robots are inspiring future engineers and scientists.

A few weeks ago I received an email from Boston Dynamics.  They said the letter from the children was very sweet, and the engineers would like to Zoom with the children and show them a live robot demonstration.

Surely, I had found the Holy Grail.

We had that Zoom with Boston Dynamics today, and it was fabulous.  Children prepared questions ahead of time.  More importantly, the two engineers told the children so much about robots (wires, coding, motors, size.)  Every ‘how do you’ question was answered.  The engineers even shared stories of when they were little and building with Legos.  They talked about robots breaking a lot, and how they had to keep trying.  It was very inspiring.

The children adore Spot.  Unfortunately he costs $75,000.  It took them at least five years to build him.

The icing on the cake is that Boston Dynamics will be featured this Sunday on the TV show “60 Minutes.”  If you are in America and watch this show, please think of my classroom when they feature Boston Dynamics.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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