“There is such a demand for coding in the classroom,” began Mariann Bott, Pine Bush science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coach on her STEM grant application to Orange & Rockland Utilities. “The PreK and kindergarten level is often left out of the tech movement but this is when the exposure should start.”
They agreed. Bott received a $1,000 grant on behalf of the district to purchase five Cubetto cubes to get to the youngest learners.
Cubetto is a small wooden robot that is cute and friendly. The Cubetto teaches the children the basics of computer programming through hands-on play and adventures. It exposes them to another language and helps the students know how the technology around them operates by learning to code and speak to the technology around them.
Bott saw the Cubetto cube at a BOCES workshop. She immediately thought it would be a great way to introduce the youngest students to coding.
Orange & Rockland provides grants in amounts up to $1,000 for teachers and schools, totaling $35,000, geared for STEM programs. There were 114 applicants for these grants with 67 granted. Bott received the maximum award.
She has purchased five of the Cubetto cubes and hopes to get the program started in September, going from building to building. Bott has been getting into kindergarten classes for STEM activities already. This, however, will give them hands-on experience with coding.
“For coding to start at such a young age is a wonderful opportunity for our students,” said Bott. “We want to get them to understand what coding is and to love it.”
And that will help to fulfill her ultimate goal – a love of science in all.
“My hope is that they love science,” said Bott. “I want them to know science is fun and open to all.”