Washington District Elementary and Robotics

Washington District Elementary and Robotics
Posted on 10/23/2023

Fourth and fifth graders at Washington District Elementary School have been spotted talking to Ozobots after school. As part of the afterschool sessions offered to WDE students, STEM students have been working with engineers and scientists from NSWCD-Dahlgren base since January.  According to WDES principal, Michael Bathgate, the program began with one demo each month followed by three sessions that would allow students to learn STEM through hands-on activities.

“Last year, we began with only offering two sessions of afterschool STEM. It was so popular; we now have four sessions.”  Mr. Bathgate continued, “Currently, Mrs. Christina Gruszecki, from Dahlgren, has taken the lead role in their outreach program in making it a success.  I really appreciate everything Dahlgren had done to support STEM at WDES.” Mrs. Gruszecki has three children who attend WDES.

Students in the four sessions work with Ozobots, straw rockets, sail car, and snap circuits. With the Ozobots, students learn how to code and make their Ozobots move and talk to them.  Following directions found on their IPads, the students try and solve various components of an exercise and get their Ozobots to comply to their instructions.  Throughout the process, students were found talking to their Ozobots and telling them to do better and congratulating them on doing an exercise correctly. Some of the students even had the Ozobots recording “knock, knock” jokes. Students were completely engrossed in the exercises and were reluctant to turn off their Ozobots at the end of the session. More complex training awaits the 28 students who participate in this program.

Currently 64 students participate in the many activities found in the afterschool tutoring sessions and programs at WDES.