This December, Washougal School District and Washougal Community Library partnered to bring hands-on robotics lessons to students in kindergarten through 5th grade at Gause and Hathaway Elementary schools. Alongside school and community librarians, students in 3rd grade through 5th grade created robot prototypes in the school library media centers. The partnership began in fall 2018, and continues to bring computer science concepts to life for young students.

Librarians guided elementary school students through computer science and robotics basics, using Hummingbird robotics kits on loan from the library. STEM activities like these help children engage with concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math, in a hands-on real world way that encourages students to think critically, solve problems, use creativity, work as a team, and develop a variety of other skills,” said Zoe Nash, Washougal Community Library Branch Manager. “Taking these kits into schools is also a way for the library to connect and share resources with members of the community who may not come into the physical library building.” 

Gause student works with library robotics kit as principal observes

Washougal School District emphasizes real world applications of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics for students of all ages. The activity brought vocabulary words like circuit, code, and command to life. “With the rise of computer science jobs and not enough programmers to fill those positions, this is a lucrative career path,” said Hillary Chapman, Library Media Specialist at Gause Elementary and Hathaway Elementary. “We’re exposing students to computer science through foundational skills of creating a simple circuit with the Circuit Blocks STEM kit in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Our older 3rd through 5th graders use a Microbit and Hummingbird prototyping board to learn the basic components of how a robot works.”

Instructional support staff, such as school librarians, are partially funded by the Washougal School Levy. The levy supports great opportunities for students to explore their interests, develop their talent, and share their passion with our community. 

Hands-on experience with robotics kits opens a world of coding and programming to students at an early age, challenging students to practice job readiness skills in the classroom. Washougal School District knows, nurtures, and challenges all students to rise.