Saving the World With Cardboard and Code!

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Location: Room 348-9
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Explore and create : Creation lab

Michael Fricano II  
Tara Lyn Nakamoto  

Is it possible to combine programming, robotics, engineering and construction into an elementary maker ed curriculum? We created a makerspace unit that has students coding robots and using age-appropriate tools to design and build with a purpose of saving the world ... And we want to share it with you!

Audience: Principals/head teachers, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Tablet: Android, iOS
Participant accounts, software and other materials: "Blockly for Dash and Dot" for iOS or Android.
Topic: Maker activities & programs
Grade level: PK-5
Subject area: Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
Innovative Designer
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes as part of a cyclical design process.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Participants will learn about our purposeful selection of Dash the robot, a block based programmable robot for lower elementary students.

Participants will learn to create simple block based programs for Dash the robot using the Blockly (iOS) app.

Participants will learn about cardboard construction tools and techniques for lower elementary students.

Participants will learn about the Sustainable Development Goals created by the United Nations and how we are addressing these goals through “Climate Action Superheroes” so that it is more relatable to lower elementary students.

Participants will learn about our process and curriculum development with connecting robotics, programming, construction tools and techniques, and the Climate Action Superheroes.


5 minutes: Presenter introductions

15 minutes: Introducing Dash the robot and the Blockly iOS app. A discussion of why it’s age-appropriate for younger elementary students and how we develop programming and computational thinking skills with our students.

15 minutes: An introduction to cardboard construction tools and techniques for lower elementary students. A demonstration of the tools that students use and how we’ve connected construction techniques with developing accessories for Dash the robot.

10 minutes: An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals and how to adapt them to lower elementary students with the “Climate Action Superheroes”.

15 minutes: An in depth exploration of how we connected the “Climate Action Superheroes” with Dash the robot and cardboard construction.

30 minutes: A hands-on activity for participants to learn how to use cardboard construction tools and construction techniques to build a prototype for a “Climate Action Superhero” that might also save the world!

Supporting research

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Michael Fricano II, 'Iolani School

Michael is a K-6 Design and Technology Teacher at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai’i. He is also a Google Certified Trainer, a Computer Science Discoveries Facilitator, and has been presenting on EdTech topics for more than 12 years. His passions center around Computer Science, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Maker Education, and purposeful, cross-curricular technology integration.

Tara Lyn Nakamoto, 'Iolani School

Tara Lyn has been an educator for 15 years. She has taught grade levels ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade in the Hawaii public school system for 11 years. She is currently working at an independent private school where she started as a Design Lab teacher supporting Maker Ed projects and STEM initiatives integrated within classroom content areas. For the last two years she has been co-teaching a newly created and specialized K-6 Design and Technology class.

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