Guest Blog by A Teacher’s Reflections
New England-based preschool teacher Jennie Fitzkee is nothing if not inspired. Maybe that’s why she’s featured in the bestselling Read-Aloud Handbook. And why quilts designed by her class hang at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia and at the Boston VA Hospital. Here’s one of my favorite Jennie Moments.
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 their music, they have since then begged to watch this video every day. Yes, every day! On that day in January, I showed the children the video, and said, “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. And, boy, did I seize the moment!
This was it! I was leading children into engineering and technology. The difference was the music. Music is math! And that component drew the children into robotics. As we watched the video over and over, they kept noticing something else, something more.
The children wrote and decorated a big letter to Boston Dynamics telling them how much they loved the robots, especially Spot the dog (below), and I included a teacher letter telling them that their robots are inspiring future engineers and scientists.
I received a response from Boston Dynamics saying the letter from the children was very sweet, and that the engineers would like to Zoom with the children and show them a live robot demonstration.
Surely, I had found the Holy Grail!
The Zoom demonstration was fabulous! Two engineers told the children so much about robots, and every ‘How do you?’ question was answered. The engineers even shared stories of when they were little and built things with Legos. They talked about robots breaking a lot, and how they had to keep trying.
It was so inspiring!