Robotics on the curriculum

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Southern Reap Gore has introduced a new course in robotics.

Schools team leader Kate McRae said Southern Reap was running the course as part of the Gifted and Talented Education (Gate) cluster.

Southern Reap was offering two robotics courses in Gore because there was a high demand for the classes in Eastern and Northern Southland, Mrs McRae said.

“A lot of the schools have been asking for a robotics course.”

The year 5 and 6 pupils learn to program small robots called Edison to complete tasks by using computer coding, she said.

Tutor Robyn Irwin, of Te Tipua, was a trained schoolteacher but also had a background in computing, Mrs McRae said.

“We are lucky to have someone with a passion for it to teach here.”

Southern Reap was given support funding by the Community Trust of Southland to run the classes, she said.

Southern Reap Gate programme Eastern Southland co-ordinator Dianne Smillie said coding was a skill that had become very important.

“It is a skill that is becoming necessary for the future,” she said.

Program it .. Riversdale School pupils Fabrice Frei (11, left) and Fletcher Ponare (10) program robot Edison to play music at the Gifted and Talented Education (Gate) course at Southern Reap Gore on Wednesday.

Pupils from schools throughout Eastern and Northern Southland were nominated by their schools to take part in Gate programmes.

This meant pupils learnt to work with other pupils from different schools, Mrs Smillie said.

It was not just the pupils who took part that benefited from the courses, she said.

“It means the students can go back into their own schools and teach the other students.

“The students become the teachers.”

A lot of schools could not teach robotics because the equipment was too expensive and teachers did not have the expertise required, Mrs Smillie said.

“We are giving students an opportunity they wouldn’t otherwise get.”