The Road 'Now' Taken: Where Robotics and Poetry Meet



The word "robotics" doesn't usually conjure up images of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson. But for Springdale Junior High students, pairing robotics and poetry is an annual educational adventure. Sue Mellon, gifted support coordinator for the Allegheny Valley School District, explains that all eighth graders take Robotics Poetry, where they create a "Robot Theater." Students take a classical poem filled with beautiful imagery, pair it with a robotics kit and produce a diorama that lights up, moves and sways to sensors. It's a marriage of language, arts and robotics.
 

Q. What's the origin of robotics poetry?
Sue was taking a class coordinated by CMU's Robotics Institute when she was tasked with finding a unique way to use robotics, especially the Arts and Bots kit from CMU's CREATE Lab. Challenged, she came up with this! Lights flash, water changes color, curtains move and the students' recorded voices are synched to match the action in the "theater."

Q. How does this aid their learning?
Sue wanted to find a way to make poetry more interesting and easier to grasp for the students. She realized that the skills in working with robotics — reading and following instructions and repetition — can also be applied to learning poetry. Students are often able to find new meanings every time they re-read their poem.

Q. What else do they learn?
In addition to using basic computer language like Visual Programmer as well as learning rudimentary robotics, the students work together as a group. And for the eighth grade girls, the melding of the technical and literary arts is also important, since at that age many "self-select" out of technical fields. This holds their interest.

Learn more here.

 

 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Perspectives from Franco Harris to Joe Manganiello.

Yinzers Eating Chicken Wings Are Going to Be on TV

Mt. Washington’s Bigham Tavern is the latest ‘Burgh eatery to host a film crew.

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

32 Years Celebrating Pittsburghers of the Year

As we honor the 2017 Pittsburghers of the year, take a look back at the previous honorees and their significant, unforgettable contributions to our city.

Wish a Steeler a Speedy Recovery in a Big Way

An oversized get-well-soon card for Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier is waiting for your signature Downtown.

Watch: Who is Faster on a Zamboni? Crosby or Malkin?

Sid and Geno love to compete, especially against each other. This time, the future Hall-of-Famers climbed aboard Zamboni machines for a race across a parking lot.

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.