Plan classroom activities around building robots and learning how to code

Plan classroom activities around building robots and learning how to code

Our classrooms are where we build our future. We leave this world for our children, advances and issues alike. They need to be prepared to handle the numerous challenges they will inevitably face, and it is our duty to make sure they are as ready as they can be. To fulfill our obligation to the next generations, education systems around the world are placing a premium on fields and skills that will drive our world forward, especially in advanced fields like technology and science. That means classrooms at your student’s school will be offering things like computer science and technology classes. Most importantly, robotics courses are becoming increasingly common. While other classes are also instrumental to your child’s education, robotics will teach them an array of skills that set it apart from the rest, giving your child a leg up on the grand task of helping sort out the future.

  STEM is an acronym to describe the full complement of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math courses that have often been lacking in our education systems. The acronym is used especially in regards to US efforts to overhaul early education in these fields, which has been a priority in the education department for several years. STEM initiatives often receive funding from state and federal levels, meaning more schools are eager to get their slice of the pie. While that may seem like a cynical view, the end result is that more schools can offer things like computer labs, field trips to science museums or fairs, and after-class robotics clubs. These types of extracurricular activities are fun and exciting, helping keep kids engaged in subjects that can be challenging. When it comes to STEM, engagement is what will keep kids interested, and hopefully, some will find their calling in one of the many fields under the acronym’s umbrella.

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Building the robot is important, but it is not the only thing that goes on in a robotics class. Lesson plans can cover the whole range of disciplines that go into a hybrid subject like robotics, from electronics to engineering.

Building the robot is important, but it is not the only thing that goes on in a robotics class. Lesson plans can cover the whole range of disciplines that go into a hybrid subject like robotics, from electronics to engineering.

Robotics is perhaps the most engaging of all STEM classes, making it great for students of any age. Within a STEM classroom setting, robotics provides some fun, collaborative, real-life interaction that is sorely lacking in other classes like math or computers. Building the robot itself is a collaborative, group-oriented activity. In the professional arena, such teamwork is not only desirable but absolutely necessary, so teaching it early is the smart thing to do. Since the students will be working with their hands, they will automatically have a greater investment in what they’re doing. Best of all for any teacher or PTSA member, there are many comprehensive robotics kits on the market that offer all the parts, tools, software, and customer service that could be needed. With the funding available, getting robots into STEM classrooms shouldn’t be a problem.

     It might surprise you that writing code on the computer is just as important, if not more, as building the actual robot. Robotics is an interdisciplinary field, combining aspects of design, engineering, construction, electronics, and computer science. The code is important because it is the interface between the student and the robot. The code is how you communicate. The software package that will likely come with the robotics kit will have a user interface especially designed for beginners, making it easy and intuitive to learn how to code. This software will also have pre-built lesson plans, meaning teachers will spend less time planning and more time figuring out creative ways to teach, making the experience better for everyone involved. For school districts who have older teachers who may struggle with technology, these lessons help train the teachers for the classes they will teach. And if there are any questions, there are extensive tutorials, guides, and documentation libraries to reference.

Code has a place in the classroom! Along with other science classes, coding teaches students how to think critically and solve problems.

Code has a place in the classroom! Along with other science classes, coding teaches students how to think critically and solve problems.

    In the vein of preparing our students for the real world, learning codeand the critical thinking underlying it is perhaps the greatest gift we can give them. Being able to break down complex problems, solve the pieces, and build up a solution works as well for sticky political issues as it does for buggy code. Our classrooms should reflect this by implementing STEM courses. Robotics, in particular, is a wonderful way to have engaging interdisciplinary exposure to several different STEM fields at once. All the parts are already in place; starter kits are readily available, funding specifically for STEM and robotics initiatives is easier to access than ever before, and the software itself helps teachers plan out their lessons. The world we are leaving our children is defined by technology, so we must do what we can to prepare them to understand, innovate, and take our global society to new heights. And it all starts in the classroom, with the simple act of getting kids excited about robotics.

Derek Capo