High schoolers teach younger kids to use tiny robots

Sometimes the best lessons don't come from the teacher, they can come from the students themselves. That's the goal for a high school In Thornton trying to get younger students excited about science and math.

THORNTON - Every day at Academy High School in Thornton, George Booth does his work as the technology instructor. But, this day his students get to be the teachers.

"We're going to have a third-grade class come down and my high school students are going to teach them how to program using these little robots," Booth said.

Last year, Academy High School received a grant from Google to purchase tiny robots inside a plastic ball called a Sphero The robots are programmed using iPads. Students like Dawn Braeske have to prepare to teach their little counterparts.

"We are currently just testing programs that we're going to show the little third graders," Braeske said.

She admits the younger kids can sometimes be a challenge to teach.

"Sometimes just because they don't know or understand what they're doing," Braeske said.

Academy High School shares a building with the Clayton Partnership School on the Skyview Campus within the Mapleton School District. Clayton is a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school. Booth says Google awarded the district the $33,000 in grant money because of the work between the older and younger kids.

"Part of the deal was, we really want to see you partner with Clayton to teach them kind of the basic programming,"  Booth said.

He says the Spheros are easy and fun to use which is an appeal for students of all ages.

"It sparks their interest in technology and computer programming in general," Booth said. "They see, hey, I can make this robot do that I want it to do."

Braeske says the ability to use these robots is a big deal for these students.

"Kids in this community haven't experienced things like this," Braeske said.

She says the interaction is also good for the older kids.

"I feel like it's cool for the high schoolers as well because we never really get to connect with the younger kids," Braeske said. "We feel like it's a cool experience to have that connection with the younger generations."

Booth says maybe they'll gain a little perspective on teaching as well.

"They kind of had to take a step back and I think maybe they do appreciate Mr. Booth a little more," Booth said.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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