Integrating Lego Robotics Into a 5th Grade Cross Curricular Unit to Promote the Development of Narrative Writing Skills


This paper describes a unit designed to promote the development of narrative writing skills among 5 th grade students through the use of LEGO robotics. Over the course of four, two and one-half hour sessions (one day per week for four consecutive weeks), the students learned how to construct and program robots, write and present a proposal to complete a mission, and connected the learning to their personal experiences with Hurricane Irma. The students began the activity with prior knowledge of World War II and Hiroshima. After learning the basics of building and programming robots, they were presented with a scenario similar to the impact of the bomb drop in Hiroshima–a city in ruins with survivors in need of supplies. Students took the role of engineers to work in pairs to create a proposal, which stated the problem and defined, and justified, a solution to pick up, and deliver, supplies through a specially-designed course using their robots. After the proposals were presented, and accepted, students programmed their robots according to their proposed solution; the activity required students to apply mathematical skills to measure distances in order to traverse parts of the course. Writing reflections were collected to determine individual student understanding and to include an additional element of writing. A final culminating activity required the students to write a narrative piece to relate the events of Hiroshima to their personal experiences with Hurricane Irma.

Proceedings of the Interdisciplinary STEM Teaching and Learning Conference