S.T.E.A.M, LEGO, Robotics and Coding: We have it all at Lanham!

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S.T.E.A.M, LEGO, Robotics and Coding: We have it all at Lanham!

by: Cheri A. Hayes, Ed.S | .
Shirley Lanham ES | .
published: September 30, 2016

Never judge a book by its cover! That’s an age-old saying that holds true to so many aspects of our lives. It is so easy to look at something as simply say, No, thank you!” or “That doesn’t look like it will interest me.” We do not purposely practice this to become a habit; however, we have made a habit of it. Recently, there has been buzz around education in teaching 21st Century skills to 21st Century students. Well, that’s easy, right?! Well, some districts have even gone as far as building 21st Century schools! Click here to take a look at some fascinating structures to bring 21st Century Teaching and Learning to the forefront.

Now, take a look at Shirley Lanham Elementary School at NAF Atsugi in Japan.



Honestly, when you see this building, after looking at a “21st Century school,” what comes to mind? How can they possibly compete with those schools? They are nowhere as equipped as those other schools. You have just judged this book by its cover!

The picture above is Audrey Taylor, 9, in Mr. Guinn’s fourth grade class at Lanham ES, who is in the LEGO Robotics afterschool club. Yes, we have Robotics in that building! Audrey shared her robot dog with my second grade class to encourage them to keep Coding so they too can utilize their computer programming skills in the future. Audrey was inspired to join the Robotics afterschool club this year as her older sister, who has now moved on to middle school, was in this same club last year. Her love for dogs motivated her to build this robotic dog and program commands for its movements. Audrey says she is looking forward to more exciting projects in the LEGO Robotics club that she can share with younger students who may want to join next year.

I am quite confident, that my students in second grade will fill some spots in LEGO Robotics as they move along in the Coding. The vision I had for my students when I introduced them to computer programming for kids was simple. Let’s use this program in the Technology Workstation as one of our activities and discuss our problem-solving skills used to solve these puzzles. No complicated language. After viewing a short video about why Coding is so important in today’s world, students took the initiative to start Coding at home and many have completed their first course (out of five), received certificates and have moved on to Course two.

Lanham is full of S.T.E.A.M in all grade levels!

Thanks to the highly qualified teachers around Lanham, S.T.E.A.M is part of the daily curriculum. Special thanks to Mrs. Nancy Jackson, art class is more than drawing and painting. Students are immersed in multisensory instruction while researching, designing, thinking critically and problem-solving in her class.

I bet you didn’t know Lanham had all this to offer, looking from the outside! Take some time, come visit with us. We will be more than happy to show you what 21st Century Teaching and Learning looks like inside those walls.

Tags: Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Education
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