Learn, Share, Challenge, Create – Micro-Robotics as a Hub in a Student-Led Inquiry Community

Division(s): Primary, Junior
Level(s): Kindergarten, Grade 5, Grade 6

Students are excited by new technologies – especially when they follow their commands! We are looking to leverage this engagement as the foundation for community-building and deep learning.

Our Grade 5 and 6 classes teamed with kindergarten classes for collaborative explorations with Ozobot micro-robots. This collaboration between older and younger students offered a meaningful environment for creative problem-solving, relationship-building and a sense of purpose. Students met once each week over five months to learn a programming language, play with the robots and develop a summative storytelling project. With this special pedagogical framework, students developed digital fluency, effective communication skills and critical thinking skills. Most importantly, both older and younger partners looked forward to their time together each week, and met each other with smiles and parted with hugs.

Team Members

  • James Burnett

    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

  • Colin Walker

    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

  • April Sorenson

    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

  • Roger Lemelin

    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

  • Shane Gracey

    Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

Our professional learning goals were to develop frameworks for community-building and project-based learning that effectively promoted mentorship and integrated learning. 

  • Collaborated in the development of intergrade hands-on opportunities for deep learning
  • Targeted key characteristics such as resiliency, creativity and innovation, and collaboration for both teachers and students
  • Showcased intergrade collaboration as a viable design for the development of student wellness

Activities and Resources

JK/SK and Grade 5 and 6

  • Learning the progression of Ozobot programming languages
  • Collaborating in exploring, designing, creating and testing of programming skills
  • Applying these skills in a summative storytelling project

Unexpected Challenges

  • In a few instances, buddies  experienced difficulties in collaborating. Older students were occasionally frustrated with the lack of attention and focus offered by their Kinder partners.  
  • We also witnessed instances in which older/younger buddies insisted on doing all the work themselves to the exclusion of their partner

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

  • Students discovered and looked forward to their spending time with their partners
  • There was a palpable connection between partners. When they crossed paths in the halls or in the schoolyard, smiles, hands waving “hello” and hugs were abound.
  • Buddies read to each other and discussed story elements. They then composed original narratives that were parodies of fairy tales and “enacted” their stories by programming robots to move through the scenes they created for their stories.


  • Students shared their projects with classmates on an ongoing basis as each new element was developed
  • Parent Counsel was kept abreast of the intergrade collaborations centred around programming micro-robots
  • Parents of both younger and older students were invited to a show and tell of the storytelling projects. Students prepared and presented their parents with fairy tale parodies and shared their process, difficulties and what they learned.
  • Some older students wrote articles for a community newspaper and letters to the Minister of Education highlighting the benefits of hands-on, collaborative projects

Project Evaluation

  • The collaboration between Kinders and Grade 5 and 6 students was effective in  relationship- and community-building and in learning programming languages with robots
  • Student collaboration varied. At times, interactions were in-depth and both partners were directly engaged on the same task, while in other instances, older and younger students were doing parallel activities and checking in on each other. Both proved to be a necessary part of the overall process.
  • All students engaged in a unique hands-on collaboration in which programming skills were learned and applied in self-directed,cross-curricular projects