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Lower Hudson Regional Information Center Takes Robots Out On School Visits

This robot from the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center is visiting with sixth-graders at Eastview Middle School in White Plains.
This robot from the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center is visiting with sixth-graders at Eastview Middle School in White Plains. Photo Credit: Contributed

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The fascinating world of robotics was on display in area classrooms when the Lower Hudson Regional Information Center took robots out on school visits to schools in Westhester, Putnam and Rockland counties.

The Model Schools Department visits featured robots, Relay and Grace, officially called "NAO" robots.

The initiative is part of an effort by the Center to support schools and districts as they investigate and implement various robotics kits and curricula.

Designed with the K-8 teacher in mind, instructors, when trained, can teach students the engineering and design process that is involved in programming robots.

During a recent visit to Eastview Middle School in the White Plains School District, students in Laura Frauenberg’s sixth-grade class learned how to program Relay.

To help the students understand how a robot works and to differentiate between a robot and a toy, the Center's team team explained that Relay, a 20-inch prototype, is an example of a much larger robot.

The idea, they said, is to test out specific functions on the smaller model and then transfer them to a bigger robot.

Made by French company Aldebaran, the robots are currently being used in the general education and research sectors, although they were originally designed for use with autistic children.

For the assignment, students, grouped in pairs, were asked to program Relay to perform various functions using Choregraphe, the graphic programming software that comes with the robot. They were then challenged to program Relay to perform simple “search and rescue” behaviors.

“We were so excited to have Relay come visit us,” said Frauenberg.

“It gives our students the chance to think creatively while developing the higher-level thinking skills necessary to succeed in other content areas.”

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