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1 Oct. 2017

Robots help Mount Maunganui Primary School students to learn code

Mount Maunganui Primary School’s coding classes are about to get a whole lot more hands on, with the addition of 14 programmable robots to the school’s computer programming curriculum – thanks to a recent donation by Mobil Oil New Zealand Limited.

A $5,000 donation to the school by Mobil has enabled it to buy eight Lego Mindstorm robots and six Bee-Bots, which will become a hands-on extension to the school’s current computer-based programming curriculum in both the junior and senior schools.

Mobil’s Mount Maunganui terminal manager, Stuart Mallasch, says the donations are part of Mobil’s ongoing support of science and maths education.

“Mobil recognises the importance of introducing these topics early in education,” he says. “Science and maths knowledge and comprehension are crucial in an increasingly digitised world, no matter what field you work in.”

“Coding and programming knowledge will genuinely give these kids a head-start, and we suspect this hands-on way of learning will help to inspire some future coding wizards.”

Mt Maunganui Primary School principal Damien Harris agrees, and says that tangible mechanisms make coding more ‘real’, especially when they’re built by the students themselves.

“We are really excited about this new project for our ‘Mounties’,” he says. “Robotics is a fantastic way for our students to learn more about coding, as it’s so much easier for them to grasp the code when a robot executes it in the physical world, right next to them.”

The Lego robots are the same as those used at Mount Maunganui Intermediate, which means that students at Mount Maunganui Primary School would be able to continue their learning as they progress through to Intermediate-level.

Stuart Mallasch says offering a clear educational pathway was reflective of Mount Maunganui Primary School’s wider acknowledgement of the importance of incorporating science and maths into the primary school curriculum.

"As an organisation, Mobil wants to help nurture a passionate and highly skilled future generation, and it’s inspiring to be able to help a school that shares that goal.”

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