WAPS elementary students are crazy for coding

Two students work on their robot in front of a poster that says "I can do hard things"

Elementary students at Winona Area Public Schools are crazy about coding. 

That’s the feeling after Jenna Anderson, WAPS elementary science specialist, completed the first run of the Robotics Club, an afterschool activity offered to third- and fourth-graders at Jefferson Elementary. 

The club will also be coming to Goodview and Washington-Kosciusko later this school year. 

The club was possible thanks to a $10,000 Vex Robotics grant from Ashley Furniture and the Ronald & Joyce Wanek Foundation, which was earned by Anderson.

A teacher gives instructions in front of a SmartBoard

Students were energized to join the club. Anderson said she handed out applications to any interested third- or fourth-grade students on a Friday afternoon. By 9 a.m. the following Monday, she had 52 applications for only 30 spots. 

The club met for an hour after school on Mondays and Thursdays for a total of seven meetings. The students learned how to build robots, make advanced robots and problem solve when they busted apart. 

The students learned how to code and drove the robots through four stages of an obstacle course, trying to collect as many points as they could along the way. 

“They had a blast,” Anderson said. “The third-graders were already asking if they automatically get into the robotics club next year.”

Amber Scott, a Jefferson kindergarten teacher, helped to facilitate the club. The Jefferson PTA provided after school snacks for the students. 

Anderson said the club will come to Goodview before winter break, and the club will come to W-K after the new year.
 

A teacher talks to students sitting at tables
A student works on an ipad while a robot sits next to him
A student works on an ipad
A teacher points to a smart board while students work on their ipads and robots
Two students work on their robot in front of a poster that says %22I can do hard things%22
Two students smile at the camera
A teacher gives instructions in front of a SmartBoard
A student drives a robot through an obstacle course
Two students smile for the camera
Two students give instructions to a robot through an ipad
Students work together on an ipad
One student fixes the robot while three others watch
Students drive their robot through an obstacle course
Students drive their robot through an obstacle course