Math, Computational Thinking, and Spy School

I was feeling vaguely uncomfortable earlier this week, as if I was being watched. As I looked up from my Zoom meeting, I noticed a small robot in the corner of my office. It approached me, bearing a message reading, “Hello, You probably don’t know who this is, but don’t worry we are watching you! P.S. We request a Pajama Day.” Alarmed, I sent a message in reply, “Who are you?” as I wondered which clever member of our staff was spying on me. 

Upon inquiry, I discovered these sly sleuths were none other than our Grade 3 students who went to spy school this week during their STEM: Applied Concepts, Innovation and Entrepreneurship class. 

As part of their unit on telecommunications, our Dragon spies learned about different types of codes and how to decode them, as well as the binary codes that make up computer programming. This week, their challenge was to use this newfound knowledge to program an unmanned robot to send me a top-secret message while the students hid in the Extended Day classroom. There was a tremendous amount of math and measuring of degree angles involved in this assignment, as they planned and tested their mission in the hallway outside the Dragon Innovation Lab.

And just when our Dragons were preparing to graduate from Spy School, they discovered I needed their help. Two of my dragon figurines, as well as the golden key to the school, had gone missing. Luckily for me, our newly minted decoding experts eagerly accepted this next challenge. Help was just around the corner! 

Our stealthy students decoded the messages, programmed the robot to go on this dangerous mission, and safely secured all of my priceless belongings. 

This was such an exceptionally fun way for our Dragons to apply some of their newly learned telecommunications skills to the real world. Using math and computational thinking, they solved a challenge as a team, collaborating and problem-solving together along the way. They learned about new viable career pathways, as well as how rescue robots are saving lives right now in the real world. Oh, and a word of warning: watch out for our newly minted spy school graduates! I promise you, you won’t even know they are there. 

Danny Vogelman

Head of School