Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2017-18

Submitted by: Matt Ostrowsky Email: Grade Level: 1-2 Subject: STEAM/Computer Science/ELA
Co-Applicant: Email: Grade level: Subject:

School: Durbin Creek Elementary School Type: Public Grade Levels:PreK-5 County:St. Johns

Approx. Enrollment: 725 Number of teachers:40

School Address:

4100 Racetrack Road
St. Johns, Florida 32259

Phone: (904) 547-3892 Principal:Angela Fuller Email:

Project Title: Durbin's DASH
Project Dates: Jan. 2018-June 2018 Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :Computer Science- Robotics- STEAM - Coding

"Durbin's D.A.S.H.: Design, Analyze, Synthesize, Hypothesize" Throughout the course of the Durbin's DASH project, first and second grade students at Durbin Creek Elementary School will learn concepts of computer programming and robotics by interacting with Dash and Dot by Wonder Workshop. Dash and Dot are award-winning interactive, educational robots designed specifically to introduce students as young as 6 years of age to Computer Science and creative problem solving skills. Using iPad apps designed by Wonder Workshop, students will become strong digital citizens while learning to code using the Blockly coding language. Through a series of Dash and Dot instructional lessons, students will integrate Computer Science skills into other curriculum areas, including Math, Science, and English Language Arts. Through this project, students will become strong technology and character leaders within their school community and will have several opportunities to demonstrate their newfound technology and leadership skills with their classmates, their school, and their community as a whole. Any grant funds awarded will be used to purchase eight Wonder Works Dash and Dot Robot Wonder Packs, each of which include: Dash and Dot robots, 4 Building Brick Connectors, 2 Charging Cords, 1 Tow Hook, 1 Bulldozer Bar, a Launcher and 3 Launcher Balls, 6 Target Stickers, 2 Bunny Ears, 1 Bunny Tail and Xylophone.


How is your project innovative?   (25 points)
All too often, robotics systems and coding hardware designed to teach coding skills to students are geared toward students who are ages 8 and up. This often leaves out those learners who most desperately need early exposure to Computer Science education: students in primary grade levels! Dash and Dot, however, are robots that are designed with those young learners in mind. Programmed specifically for the use by students as young as 6 years old, Dot is a small robotic ball on a base with 12 LED lights in her eye and comes with a variety of pre-programmed sounds, allowing students to program her to talk or make noise. She also has an accelerometer which allows Dot to know when you are tossing, shaking, moving, or tilting her in educational activities provided by Wonder Workshop. Dot’s companion, Dash, has even more built-in functionality: students can drive him in all directions, tilt his head 120 degrees to the left or right, and record their own voices to make him talk. Dash even has two distance sensors which allow him to detect obstacles in front and objects behind him with infrared lights. Opportunities for learning and creativity are endless with Dash and Dot!! Lessons include: *Programming Basics: students will learn the basics of computer progamming using Blockly, a simplified form of coding in which students connect blocks of code to program Dash and Dot to move and turn in various directions *Creating and Solving Mazes with Dash: students will design a maze for Dash to traverse using Blockly. In this lesson, they will learn about spatial reasoning, measurement, angles, sequencing, events, sensors, and loops. *Number Line Moves: students will create simple sequences in Blockly to program Dash to move forward in a line, while adding and subtracting by multiples of 10. *Loopy Shapes: students will create quadrilaterals by building a pen attachment for Dash and using loops, angles, and distance traveled. *Robot Storyteller: students will combine coding with creative writing and storytelling. In this activity, students will work together to write a short story with Dash and Dot as the main characters and then have their robot characters act their story out by programming their movements. *Scientific Method: students will learn the steps of the scientific method through hypothesis testing by experimenting how far Dash will travel at different programmed speeds.

How will it fit into your curriculum (include standards)? (10 points)
The opportunities for using Dash and Dot within virtually any grade level’s curriculum are endless. Below are just a few of the Common Core State Standards and ISTE Computer Science standards that are addressed in Dash and Dot lessons: *CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.NBT.C.4 - Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten. *CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.NBT.C.5 - Given a two-digit number, mentally find 10 more or 10 less than the number, without having to count; explain the reasoning used. *CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.1.NBT.C.6 - Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (positive or zero differences), using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Computer Science Standards *ISTE Standard 4: Critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. *Identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation *Plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project *Collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions *Use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions

How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school or community? (20 points)
The impacts of this project will reach far beyond the boundaries of their own classroom and will last longer than this school year alone. The need for Computer Science education in primary grade levels is critical. The sooner we can expose young learners to activities in coding, the brighter our next generation will be. Lessons using Dash and Dot can be integrated every area of instruction, including Math, Science, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and more. As these skills are introduced to our current cohort of 1st graders, they will move on to second grade having mastered the basics of computer program with Blockly and will be able to expand their knowledge of Computer Science. Many will even develop an interest in learning about other programmable robots, such as our Spheros and Parrot Mini-Drones. Those students who show great interest and aptitude working with robots such as Dash and Dot will eventually be called upon as “Robo-Ambassadors:” a team of student leaders whose task it will be to pass their knowledge on to younger coders in the school. And once these students walk out the doors of Durbin Creek Elementary School as rising middle schoolers, they will have had 5 full years of exposure to and instruction in coding and robotics and will be ready to take on the next STEM challenge with which they are faced.

How will technology be utilized?  (20 points)
From beginning to end, technology is the beating heart of this project. Before removing Dash and Dot from their box, students will participate in “Device Care 101,” a crash course in using their devices safely. Additonally, Digital Citizenship will be a crucial component of this project. Throughout the entirety of the project, Digital Citizenship concepts will be taught, reinforced and monitored by myself and classroom teachers. As a result, students will not only be learning the coding skills we set out in each activity, but they will also be honing skills that are equally important: being responsible and respectful users of technology. And then there are the Dash and Dot lessons themselves! Once students have gotten the hang of “driving” Dash and Dot, they will begin the lessons on how to program them. Students will collaborate in small teams to program their robot, using communication and problem solving skills to code Dash or Dot to carry out their instructions. And although teams will need to share iPads, they will take turns being their team’s official “Device Controller,” while relying on’s guidelines for Pair Programming, which offers tips for schools who may have limited access to computers and devices for their students. There is nothing about this project that is free of technology. From Day 1, students will start using classroom iPads to control and code their new robot friends. Throughout, they will engage and experiment with technology they’ve never experienced before in lessons that support their academic instruction, while learning to become strong digital citizens in the process.

What evidence will you collect to show student gain?   (10 points)
As indicated above, the Dash and Dot lessons and activities integrate ELA, Math, and Science Common Core State Standards. As a result, I expect to see improved scores in classroom assessments, as well as standardized/computerized tests such as iReady for primary students and FSA for older students. In addition, the coding/Computer Science skills that students learn along the way will be monitored and assessed using a specially designed rubric. Finally, I also believe that this project will encourage participants to show strong character around school. While working with Dash and Dot, they will be expected to be exemplars of responsibility, citizenship (both digital and personal), and respect. Thus, we will also use our school’s “Caught With Good Character” reward system as a way to monitor and show evidence of those traits in participants.

How will participants share your project results with the community?  (15 points)
Last school year, our school hosted our first STEAM Night, in which families came out to see students’ Science and Art projects, take part in different STEAM activities, and learn more about the Spheros and Parrot Education mini-drones that have been purchased through the generosity of TERRA over the last two years. This year, I look forward to giving our youngest Explorers an opportunity to demonstrate all they’ve learned this year with Dash and Dot! In addition, St. Johns County School District hosts an annual STEM Fair, in which groups of students from around the county can show the incredible things they’ve been learning in their STEM clubs and classes. This, I believe, will be another great opportunity for our students to show to our community what they are able to do.


Service/ Item Description Cost
Wonder Workshop Dash & Dot Robot Wonder Pack x8 at $254.99 each $2,039.92
Total Cost of Project $2039.92
If matching funds identified list source:
Donated Goods/Services:

I, Matt Ostrowsky, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Angela Fuller,the Principal of Durbin Creek Elementary School and any other individuals required by my school district.