MILLBURN, NJ - Prior to the start of last night's BOE meeting, Hartshorn School second graders showed off their robotic smarts as they demonstrated their skills in programming as they applied it to learning about the Underground Railroad.

The students integrated robotic programming into a large streetscape model of their own design and creation.  Measuring and calculating angles, they programmed their “bots” to navigate through a replica of the Underground Railroad.  They even coded their own voices to help tell the story of the freedom seekers’ plight.

“I believe technology needs to be integrated into a curriculum.” Said the Hartshorn teacher Amy Blake commenting about the class project.

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She talked about the origins of the undertaking and the value of combining technology, math and history into a single project based learning experience.

The project was conceived with Hartshorn’s Technology Integration Specialist Eric Demel.  Inspired by an educational conference he attended, he and Blake launched the three-week project for her class.

“Curricular connection, seamless integration of technology and learning skill sets are all true [in this project].  The kids learned a lot.” Commented Demel.  “The experience, the excitement and total engagement could be seen just by looking into the classroom.”

She ended her presentation by thanking the Ed Foundation, who provided the grant for the project.  According to Blake, if it were not for their funding, the project would not have begun.