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Students get crafty with Thanksgiving Robot Parade

Published on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020

student holding up puppet creation

This fun Thanksgiving-themed activity incorporated many elements of STEAM, and it was something that could be shared with an audience via video.

For the last week or so, Katie Dills’s second-graders at Foxbank Elementary have worked hard on producing their Thanksgiving Robot Parade.

Dills started by reading the book, “Balloons Over Broadway” by Melissa Sweet. In this book, students met Tony Sarg, a German American puppeteer and illustrator who was described as “America’s Puppet Master.” Sarg was raised around puppets, and in 1928 he designed tethered helium-filled balloons resembling animals for Macy’s department store in New York; these participated in the store’s now-famous annual Thanksgiving Day parade.

After her class read the book, they reviewed textual elements of the book and also researched about how the parade floats are made in real life. The students then planned out and designed their own floats.

The students planned what character they would build and materials to use. The students made their own float out of materials in the classroom (construction paper, tape, straws, cotton balls, etc.). The students then experimented with Ozobots to see if they could code the robots down a “road” for the parade.

“We had some floats that were too big or too heavy and students had to revamp their design to make sure it worked,” Dills said. “Some of our codes did not work so we had to test those out as well and improve. Trial and error was used until our floats were in working order. We improvised and made sure everyone could have a part in our parade.”

Students came up with different characters to include in the parade – including cats, dogs, a unicorn and a Pikachu. Students learning from home were able to share photos of their creations to be included in the parade video.

Check out the linked video to watch the parade.