By Pam Scifers / January 16, 2019

Partners in your success: The latest in robotics and coding for your classroom

We’ve spent nearly 48 years curating, manufacturing, and supplying products and solutions that empower and support your efforts to bring hands-on, minds-on education to your students and classroom. We’re always thinking, making, and looking out for things that can make your experiences more effective and fun. This is why we are so excited to introduce you to products and kits from five of our partners.

Coding Partners

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KUBO Robotics

Last spring, we shared KUBO Robotics with all of you for the first time. Classrooms across the country are bringing coding to their elementary classrooms as of late with great enthusiasm. With its groundbreaking TagTile® system, KUBO introduces the concepts of coding in an easy, hands‐on, screen‐free way so that children as young as four can become creators, innovators, and designers of our future technologies.

As a refresher, or in case you’re new to KUBO, students piece together icon‐based tiles to create instructions, or code, for their robot to roll over and execute. The solution requires no additional technology and is so simple that teachers can be up and running in fewer than five minutes and well on their way to introducing the basics of computational thinking. Now KUBO is advancing the programming students can complete with the all-new Coding+ TagTile Set. Advanced loops, advanced subroutines, and wait functions are made possible. The expansion of tiles means learning can level up to Grades 3-5.

Plus, KUBO continues to make available free standards‐based lesson plans, quick-start guides, and video tutorials that have even the most rushed or tech‐averse teacher brimming with confidence prior to every lesson. Available with KUBO is a basic set of tiles, and a new advanced set of tiles and activity maps that will grow with and continuously challenge K‐5 elementary students as their coding skills sharpen.

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Microduino

If you’re looking to get some energy into the classroom, you’re going to love what Microduino is bringing to the table. Cocreated with teachers, administrators, and academic experts, the Microduino STEM MIX Kit Series 1‐4 is a powerful learning system that progressively teaches elementary and middle school students in Grades 4‐9 about electronic circuitry, coding, and product design.

Numbered 1‐4, each MIX Kit includes a combination of hardware components, coding resources, and extensive instructional materials to guide students step by step through challenging in‐class product development and coding projects. Each subsequent MIX Kit focuses on more sophisticated concepts so students can further their abilities to think logically and sequentially and solve life- and technology-focused problems.

Rather than focus on one project, each kit level offers 12 projects and encourages students to design and build their own applications based on the subject matter they learn. The intent is for students to take the STEM/STEAM knowledge they have acquired and then use it to create their own imaginative designs. Collectively, the four learning systems represent an innovative, hands‐on approach to STEM education with an emphasis on learning coding using the mDesigner software that is based on the beloved Scratch platform from MIT.

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Shape Robotics

Easy build and advanced coding are a snap with the Fable robot from Shape Robotics. Fable was designed from the ground up to meet the needs of educators – providing them with a fun and easy way to teach 21st-century skills and STEM subjects as well as bring coding to life.

Fable is a modular construction set that students in Grades 6-12 can use to create their own robot in just a few minutes. Learners can quickly click the different modules together in numerous ways to build their robot’s body and then program it for sensing and movement.

Depending upon students’ experience level, Fable can be coded using Blockly, a visual programming language, or Python®, a text‐based language, which is currently the fastest‐growing major programming language available – talk about career readiness! Fable offers limitless learning possibilities, has an adapter module that is LEGO® brick compatible, and also offers a module for users to connect their own 3-D-printed components to their creations.

Robotics Partners

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UBTECH

Integrating STEM instruction into a classroom is made easier with UKITs. UKITs from UBTECH come in three levels (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) that are designed for Grades 3-12, depending on the kit. From an engineering aspect, each kit is a building system that includes structure elements, connectors, wheels, axles, and servo motors that can easily snap together to form structures and robots. The beginner and intermediate kits include a control box that acts as a brain for robot creations, while UKIT Advanced (designed for high school students) includes Arduino-compatible components for students to build their own controller.

Students are guided through each activity with a free, easy-to-use app designed for iOS and Android devices. In the app, each activity starts with learning objectives that are connected to NGSS-aligned curriculum that can be presented by the teacher. From there, the app walks students through build steps, enabling students to zoom, rotate, and animate components coming together for each step.

For the beginner and intermediate kits, the app also includes a block-based programming environment that lets students program their robot after it’s built. Students can run sample programs or write their own program for each activity. The controller connects to the device through Bluetooth, enabling students to easily test their code on their robots as they build their program. The advanced kit includes its own block-based coding software that runs on a PC or Mac. Much like TETRIX® Ardublockly, the advanced kit software uses the Arduino Software (IDE) to compile and transfer code from the computer to the robot control module.

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Arduino

And, last but certainly not least, if you’re looking to begin or ramp up students’ coding experiences, Arduino is an excellent option. We’re especially excited to have more Arduino offerings for you because Pitsco’s own TETRIX controllers, PULSE™ and PRIZM®, are both based on Arduino technology. The PRIZM controller is programmed using the Arduino Software (IDE), and although PULSE uses the block-based TETRIX Ardublockly software, the Arduino Software (IDE) runs in the background, compiling and transferring code to the controller.

This partnership also means that mechatronics, an option we currently don’t have through TETRIX, is made available. The Arduino kits we offer let students get inside controllers similar to PRIZM and PULSE and see how individual electronic components come together to control devices and robots.

You’ll find three different Arduino kits on our site, depending on the experience and level of your students. The starter kit includes an activity book that walks students through 15 different activities from blinking an LED to breadboarding and coding a knock lock that opens a box when a certain pattern is knocked out.

The CTC 101 kit is a full mechatronics curriculum with content delivered through an online platform. A CTC 101 kit includes enough Arduino controllers, electronic components, sensors, DC motors, servos, and structural building elements for a class of 24 students. The kit includes more than 25 different projects and activities that include building and coding planet finders, crawling robots, and motion-activated security cameras.

The engineering kit is more advanced and is designed for upper high school and beyond. It comes with a one-year license for MATLAB, a programming environment designed for engineers and scientists, and Simulink, a simulation software for modeling systems.

We know collaboration is a powerful tool in the classroom, and we’re happy to model that same belief in our business because we know partnerships are a powerful way to bring students and educators more. We can’t wait to see what you do with all of these new opportunities!

 

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TOPICS: Middle School, Elementary School, High School, ROBOTICS, Technology, Coding, TETRIX Robotics, 21st Century Skills, Hands-on Learning

Pam Scifers

Written by Pam Scifers

Hi there! I’m the Senior Inbound Marketing Manager for Pitsco Education. It’s been a pleasure working in marketing and product development for more than 10 years in the education industry –- sounds crazy to say, but I guess time flies when you’re having fun! I’m an alumna of Pittsburg State University where I played volleyball and sometimes studied. My work days are filled collaborating with the amazing folks that craft Pitsco’s online presence. Outside of that, my favorite roles include wife and mother to one little girl and one Goldendoodle. I love working at Pitsco, because it’s a company that is extremely open-minded, creative, and is willing to go the extra mile for its students, teachers, and employees.