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Robotics in the Park

As the world continues to advance technologically, Tulsa Public Schools strives to make sure students are receiving the knowledge they need to be successful. Council Oak Elementary received a major opportunity to do just that.

The Gathering Place has partnered with Schlumberger to provide free STEM robotics and coding curriculum. The classes are being offered for free to Tulsa Public Schools students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. 

Originally, Council Oak was given 50 spots for its students. Ultimately, Schlumberge decided to extend the program to all 3rd through 5th grade Council Oak students. The classes are being hosted at the beautiful Gathering Place Boathouse. 

Students arrive at the Gathering Place at 9:45 a.m. and begin the day promptly at 10 a.m. The students are split into two groups. One group starts their day in the STEM class while the other group explores the park. On days that the weather does not permit students to be outside, they participate in scavenger hunts and games inside the Boathouse.

At noon, all of the students have lunch in the park while enjoying the beautiful scenery. At 12:30, the group that started the day in the park will meet in the classroom, and the other group will take that time to enjoy the park.

The curriculum is designed to be a two-part workshop. One workshop is for building while the other focuses on programming. This means each class would visit need to the park twice. One of the visits students will work on building and driving robot rovers. The next visit that class would return and learn to code and program on a computer.

The students and staff members have all enjoyed themselves so far.

“It was really fun. The most challenging part was trying to figure out how to hook the cords into it. The easiest part was building it,” said 3rd grader Jaharie White. “They have tablets where you can move it around. It was so fun driving it!”

Although they equally enjoyed the project, all of the students faced different challenges. 3rd grader Eden Bristow said, “Last week when we got to build the robot it was such fun! The easiest part was putting the pieces together. The hardest part was trying to get along with my group.” The students had an opportunity to work on team-building skills as they worked in groups of three.

"We are excited to work with Tulsa Public Schools. Several schools will visit and experience the two-hour workshops,” said Schlumberger employee Sonia Jordan. “Schlumberger is committed to providing STEM-related educational programming, equipment, and instruction to the community.”

Sonia works in the Community Affairs department for Schlumberger and shared she travels the world educating children in robotics. She also shared that Schlumberger's focus is to reinvest in communities. The company has also used this opportunity to help local college students. Schlumberger has hired some of University of Tulsa's engineering senior students to assist with teaching the curriculum.

“Opportunities such as robotics stimulate interest, enthusiasm, and engagement in students. Our children experienced working alongside an engineering student from TU and learned about multiple career paths in engineering. This exposure to future opportunities opens their eyes to new possibilities,” said Patricia Eaton, the Dean of Climate and Access at Council Oak Elementary.

Patricia has been instrumental in setting up this opportunity for the students.

“Our students were able to utilize their communication skills while building and applying new vocabulary in authentic ways,” said Patricia.  

Council Oak is finding ways to connect the lessons students learn in class with real-world experiences.

Our school is piloting a new science program called Amplify. Teachers reported that they observed students making connections with the program and were able to apply a variety of math, engineering, and technology skills. They also mentioned that they observed the positive effects of our work with the Wallace Foundation and social-emotional learning. Students worked together in teams to problem solve and recognized the benefit of working productively as a team,” said Patricia.

Council Oak is working toward a continued partnership with the Gather Place. Patricia shared that they have worked with them before and are very grateful for their growing partnership. 

Special thanks to the Gathering Place and Schlumberger for providing our students with unimaginable opportunities.