# Dashing around Antioch becomes a math challenge at Grass Lake School

• Students in Ashley Tompkins' sixth-grade math class, like Ewa Bomba, left, and Ivy Gutierrez, get help from tech coach Kathy McIlhany, center, in moving the Dash and Dot robots across the route. Courtesy of Ashley Tompkins

Posted2/3/2023 8:31 PM

Real-world problems took on a whole new meaning in Ashley Tompkins' sixth-grade math class.

Students were engaged in a Project Based Learning activity that involved coordinate graphing.

They were challenged to find the distance between two points on a coordinate plane that was reflected on a map of the town of Antioch.

Students chose two locations on the map and found the distance.

On the way they experienced a detour and had to renavigate their route to their destination.

Taking the experience up one notch, students were introduced to the robots Dash and Dot.

Students Payton McGhee and Jackson Casper took the challenge, and with help from Kathy McIlhany, the tech coach/librarian, learned how to program Dash's Neighborhood.

Mimicking the previous graphing on the floor of their classroom, students had to move Dash along the same route they had created on paper.

Payton reflected on this challenge, "It was hardest when you had to line up Dash on the coordinates to move him the exact distance."

Jackson responded, "Finding the distance with Dash became coding, the formulas allowed us to repeat and then we could accomplish our task."

The students discovered math could make things easier and coupled with coding became fun.

Payton shared some advice for newcomers to coding, "persevere -- even if you get it wrong, you can fix it."

In the course of conversation, they shared an "a-ha" moment that this skill could be applied to driving in a car or bus.

Additionally, both students acknowledged that in the fall their grades were less than desirable. They believe that the Project Based Learning projects have elevated their interest in math and that their grades have "improved" in fact, "skyrocketed." Way to go Dash!