Brentwood’s Mr. BIG

Saturday, September 26, 2015 -

Mr Harold Wardrop, Head of Mathematics, is the first recipient of the Brentwood Innovation Grant: he’s now Mr. BIG. Mr. Wardrop has been awarded the B.I.G. in order to develop an introductory coding course. What makes this program unique, however, is that he will be using a humanoid robotic platform - the NAO robot pictured to your right. 

Eventually, the course will be accessible to all Brentwood students in Grade 9, but the hope is that it will expand to the point where our senior students are conducting university level robotics research at BCS. Mr. Wardrop is convinced that both male and female students will be motivated to learn coding in this manner, not because they have always dreamed of becoming a programmer, but because they will want to make “Artie” do something. 

Students will learn crucial skills for their future and learn a new way of thinking about their world, computational thinking, which combines mathematics, logic and algorithms. Since they will have control over all aspects of the NAO robot’s features, students will be able to pursue any idea that they have for the robot. They will be working in a problem-based, project-based environment, and will learn two coding languages: Choregraphe, which is a graphical language written specifically for the NAO robot and Python, a powerful and fast programming language that is readily accessible to beginners. 

As students become more familiar with the robot and more adept at coding, they will naturally embark upon more involved projects. Who knows what they will dream up: these are definitely exciting times for Brentwood’s students!

The future looks bright and B.I.G.

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