Elementary students have an opportunity to learn coding without a screen with the program KUBO.

Out of 100 entries, only nine teachers across the country were selected to participate in a pilot program called KUBO, solely distributed by Pitsco Education.

“We were pleasantly surprised at the overwhelming interest in KUBO based on the number of applicants for the pilot program,” Pitsco Education Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Stephan Turnipseed said. “That speaks to the growing appetite for coding and robotics not just at the high school and middle levels but also down into elementary and even early elementary.”

Two of these nine teachers are Frank Layden Elementary School Fifth Tim Vesco and George Nettels Elementary School Kindergarten through fifth grade Title Math Teacher Natalie Vanderbeck.

“I feel really lucky and fortunate to be chosen by Pitsco,” Vanderbeck said.

Vesco agreed.

“We are excited to have been chosen,” he said.

Vesco’s fifth graders have already opened up the box and have given it a try.

“They are really loving it,” he said.

According to a release, KUBO is a “screen-free coding solution for emergent readers — an engaging, puzzle-like way for K-2 students to experience coding for the first time.”

Schools have been encouraging Science Technology Engineering and Math. However this adds on to the student experience by giving them a chance to learn another skill — coding.

Many STEM related activities use tablets and computers, which are not always available.

“With this [KUBO] they are able to program this little robot and they don’t need a device,” Vanderbeck said.  

She said they instead have hands-on experience with manipulating tiles, which the robot records.

The program uses “TagTiles,” which students lay out in a specific order. The robot automatically records the sequences — or code —  created by the students and then carries out those specific movements.

Vesco and Vanderbeck were given a free four-pack of the coding solution. Additionally, as part of the pilot program, the teachers will provide feedback to Pitsco Education.

 — Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at spotter@morningsun.net or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.