Programme already earns awards, recognition
Robotics has been introduced into the curriculum at the Cayman Prep High School in an effort to use the motivational effects of the subject to excite and inspire students about science, mathematics and technology.
This is the only programme of its kind in any school in the Cayman Islands.
However, Cayman Prep Principal Sheena Purdom said this was something she wanted to see change.
“We would love to see other schools get involved, as this would mean that there could be interaction and competition between the schools,” she said. “Robotics can be used for many different things with great implications for the future. In fact, they are currently using robotic fish to detect pollution in the world’s waters. Cayman is the perfect location for some of these kinds of applications of robotics.”
Cayman Prep is in its first year of teaching the robotics curriculums to Year 7 students. This Key Stage 3 Robotics curriculum will be further developed in Years 8 and 9 in the new academic year.
The curriculum also has the potential to focus on introductory understanding of specific skill sets such as programming and mechanical design at the Key Stage 4 school level.
Additionally, the robotic curriculum at Cayman Prep includes the development of 21st Century skills, which include – but are not limited to – teamwork, problem solving, ideation, project management and communication.
The school’s commitment to the field of robotics was recently endorsed by the Joanna Clarke Excellence in Education Award, which the school has won this year. This was thanks in no small part to the school’s Cyber Rays team, which in its first year of competition, won the West Coast Florida Regional First Lego League Tournament in Tampa and also the Florida State trophy for Innovation and Strategy at the First Lego League Florida State Championships on 26 February. Coach of the Cyber Rays Allison Smith received the Mentor of the Year Award at the championships.
Another aspect of the curriculum that will be further developed is the inclusion of the FIRST Lego League programme.
“The Caribbean is usually sports-centric with travelling teams common for youth sports. FLL allows young people to excel and be recognised for scientific/academic success,” Mrs. Purdom said.
The robotics curriculum that starts in high school can be extended to technical, community and four-year universities. Students can have the opportunity to earn certificates and degrees that demonstrate a standard level of training and job readiness in the robotics field. These certificates and degrees include: Robotics Technician Certificate, Robotics Engineering Technology Associate Degree and Robotics Baccalaureate Degree.
Robotics curriculum objectives
Students will learn to design, programme and control fully-functional models. They will use software to plan, test and modify sequences of instructions for a variety of life-like robotic behaviours. They also learn to collect and analyse data from sensors, using data logging functions embedded in the software.
To inspire a greater number of students to study advanced mathematics, science and technology by placing the learning in contexts that students find motivating and easy to understand.
To promote scientific/academic success for our students both locally and globally through the FIRST (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Lego League programme.
The Caymanian Compass visited Cayman Prep to speak with some of the students about their experience in the new robotics course.
“It’s really fun. I never knew about robot and what they are capable of and now I do. You can get them to do whatever you want. I look forward being on the team next year,” said Year 7 student Hanya Soomro.
Her classmate Jessy Jackson said, “Robotics can be used anywhere. I want to use the skills I learn in this course for fishing techniques. I want to have a fishing business one day and robots can help me to catch fish at certain depths and reel them in.”
Jordan Mangon, another of the Year 7 students doing the robotics course, said, “It’s really good. I like to build stuff and programme things to do things for me. I also like to use computers, though it can be challenging at times.”