BROOKVILLE — Playing with robots made by older students kept fourth-graders busy when senior high students spent a morning at Hickory Grove, showing the younger students some of the things they can experience when they get to the high school.

Fifteen students from the robotics and AP computer science class taught by James Overly took some of their robots and their computer skills to fourth grade as a closing event to a year-long project.

“Earlier this year, the students in AP Computer Science built educational apps as one of their first projects. The fourth grade teachers and students helped us by reviewing the apps and suggesting changes to make them better,” he said.

As a follow-up to that project, “Mrs. (Heidi) Afton approached me to put together an end-of-year STEM day collaboration between the elementary and high schools. My robotics and AP computer science students traveled to Hickory Grove and offered fourth-graders the chance to examine and drive robots built in robotics class as well as the opportunity to build a simple mobile app, similar to what we learned in AP Computer Science,” he said.

“This gave the older students a chance to answer questions and pass on some of their knowledge to the younger ones and also allowed the younger students to see some of the awesome opportunities they can look forward to when they reach high school!” Overly said.

Fourth-grade teachers found the event to be a valuable lesson for their students.

“The high school robotics and computer coding students did a fabulous job presenting to the fourth grade students,” Joni Murray said. “They were very knowledgeable about these complex topics, but at the same time, made it understandable for the younger kids. The hands-on activities kept the fourth graders highly engaged throughout the entire experience. Many of the kids left the presentation asking if they will get to do that again!”

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Afton, who helped organize the event, said, “For the past two years our fourth graders have had the unique opportunity to review and provide feedback for the Apps being developed by Mr. Overly’s computer science class. On Friday (May 12), 12 high school students visited Hickory Grove to extend this activity. Our fourth-graders had the opportunity to build an app with the computer science students and ‘drive’ the robots from the robotics class. It was a real life application for all our students!”

“The high school students did a fantastic job interacting with our fourth graders, showing them the things that they have learned,” Christina Iraca added. “The kids all had positive things to say about the experience and enjoyed the robots and learning how to piece together an app code. It was a great opportunity for our younger students to also see some possibilities for when they get to the high school. For myself, it was great to see some former students sharing their knowledge with others.”

Fourth-graders were also enthusiastic about the activity. Samuel J. Lipinski said, “One thing I learned from our stations this morning was how to make working buttons, because I always wanted to learn how to make an app.” Kyler Fenstermaker agreed, saying, “One thing I learned about in our stations this morning was that we learned how to program. I could really use that someday.”

From a different perspective, Alaina Johnson said she “liked driving the robots, because you could move things.”

Senior high students participating in the event were Hunter Paton, Coyha Brown, Kaden Myers, Lily Mills, Baily Miller, Quinton Perry, Damien Porter, Lucas Haight, Lucas Gaston, Thomas Bowser, Chase Snell, Audrey Sorek, Audrey Barrett, Killian Radell and Keira Mumford.

Overly said he was very proud of his students and the way they interacted with the fourth-graders. “None of them are planning to be teachers, but I told them if they know it, they can teach it. I am very impressed with the skill they have shown here today.”