A real joy in education

A classroom robotics project awakens enthusiasm for learning from boys

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“The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.” 

—Jean Piaget

Between school safety, worries about grades and PARCC testing it’s sometimes difficult to witness the simple joy found in learning and being challenged.

Those who were lucky enough to see a demonstration of robotics projects this past week at the Crestwood school board meeting experienced such a moment when two eighth graders— Ashton Williams and Alex Tapscott shared several projects they designed and constructed in teacher Mary St. Clair’s technology classroom.

From the moment he began speaking, Ashton could not contain his excitement and pride in the four or five projects the two boys worked on together. 

Both found a niche and are excited about the possibilities in that classroom. Thanks to the Internet, the two boys found specific projects to construct and in some cases wrote code to complete the work 

The boys didn’t work just during their class. They worked before and after school on the projects which did everything from following a makeshift black tape on a track around a table to pitching a red ball and hitting it a la a pitching and hitting machine as well as several others creations performing tasks.

We sometimes forget in the midst of the rules and social media and bullying and parent complaints our children throughout Edgar County — whether it’s Crestwood, Chrisman, Kansas, Paris 95 or Shiloh — are being challenged and are finding joy in the classroom. 

It’s important to remember not all children are going to find joy and excitement in learning the same way. That’s why it’s so great to see out of the box thinking like Mayo science teacher Chris Clawson’s building a sled project or the Crestwood robotics project or the various FFA projects our county students tackle each year.

Now we’re excited!