Third grade students at Roslund Elementary got a personal tour of the Tunkhannock Area Middle School on Thursday.
Participants got a bird’s eye view of the gym, the guidance offices, the library, the cafeteria, and other major sections of the building.
Students also had the opportunity to speak to middle school teachers, support staff, as well as other older students.
Yet the Roslund students never left the elementary school during the entire tour.
The event was a ‘virtual tour’ conducted by Dr. Kelly Carroll, Executive Director of School Consolidations for the Tunkhannock Area School District. The virtual tour was made possible by a Double Robot, loaned to the district by Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18. The robot is equipped with wheels, and can transmit and receive audio and video messages.
Carroll said that she had performed the virtual tour with children from other elementary schools in the district, to prepare them when they physically tour what will become the Interim Center in September. Grades three and four will be housed at the Interim Center, and the virtual tour introduces them to the facility.
Sitting in a classroom at Roslund, Carroll is in communication with Mark Simko, who works in the technical department. Carroll informs the students that Simko will be serving as the robots ‘hands’ because it cannot open door.
A camera image of a room in the middle school appears on the classroom screen, bringing a squeal of delight from the third graders. Even more exciting to them is a small ‘picture-in-picture’ screen of their classroom - which shows what is appearing on the robot’s view screen.
Controlling the robot from her desk, students see the front lobby of the middle school appear on the screen. As it enters various rooms, people wave and say hello, which draws an enthusiastic response from the third graders.
The robot travels through the guidance section, and Carroll tells the students how the guidance counselors in the building will be able to help them.
“They all are very helpful,” she explains.
One of the third graders points and yells ‘Steelers!’when the robot catches a sign of the name in the area.
The tour also includes a stop at the nurses’ office and the gym. Middle school students spotting the robot take a moment to smile and wave as it passes by.
“We get lockers?” is one question asked during the tour.
Carroll confirms this is so, and has Simko open one so the students can see inside. She explains how the students use their lockers to store books, coats, and other items.
The tour stops outside a classroom, and a fifth grader named Molly is elected to answer questions. Asked what it is like at the middle school, Molly said she really likes being a fifth grader.
“How big is the middle school?” someone asks.
“Really big. It’s a lot bigger than Roslund,” she replies.
Some students are also a little surprised when they find out they take different classes in different rooms, instead of being taught all day in one room.
The robot also travels to the cafeteria, and here students are informed by support stuff members what they can expect for meals. There are certain restrictions for meals for grades three and four, which some of the students aren’t too happy about. However, Carroll assures everyone that those restrictions are removed by grade five.