Robotics Hobby Kits for Middle School Students

Robotics Hobby Kits for Middle School Students

Middle school-aged children are the perfect age for kids to dive into robotics full force. At this level, middle schoolers are able to tackle more complex projects and gain a deeper understanding of the scientific concepts at play: physics, engineering, computer programming, etc. Getting middle school students interested in STEM when they’re young means they’ll be more likely at the high school level to consider robotics more seriously as an academic or career goal.

More and more schools are instituting robots in the classroom to get the ball rolling. This is a great opportunity to introduce kids to robots who otherwise may not have the exposure. But as kids get more involved in robotics, learning doesn’t have to be limited to the classroom. In fact, robotics projects at home are a great way to take learning to the next level.

Robotics hobby kits for middle school students help hone students’ specific STEM interests and motivate them to keep the momentum going. Here are some basic hobby kit models that are sure to engage your middle school student in the vast world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Robot Bugs

Robots disguised as fanciful creatures get kids interacting with real robots, yet with the look of any typical toy, they might see on the shelf. Still, these robots can do a lot more than flash blinking lights or play a simple tune. In fact, they’ll be teaching upper elementary and middle school students about mechanics, motor skills, and basic programming manipulation.

These robots move in a variety of ways, from detection of metal objects to IR (Infrared) signals, to

artificial and natural light signals, and sensing of an obstacle in order to stop, back up, and change direction.

These robots contain basic parts like a computer module, motor, chassis, gears, and colorful unique shaped cover that is somewhat transparent, allowing kids to get an inside peek at how exactly their robot is being powered. Several kits also include colorful instructions and posters.

Prices begin at about $25.00.


Solar Robotic Kits

Some robotics hobby kits for middle school students are powered by solar energy, teaching kids science concepts beyond those most closely used in robotics. In addition to learning how solar energy can move something as small as a robotic car, to power something as big as a school, kids will begin to appreciate the importance of alternative energy in their daily lives.

Simultaneously, as kids build their robots, they’ll also be learning about automotive transmissions and motors. These robots require assembly, yet are not as complicated as the assembly required for robotics directed at high schoolers. Of course, the solar power aspect also means a battery is not required, adding to a smooth assembly process.

These basic kits are inexpensive, starting from as low as $10.00.

Perfecting Arduino Coding

Robotics hobby kits for middle school students allow students to focus on the area of robotics which they find most challenging. For many middle school students, this may be coding, especially since robotics might be the first introduction to coding they’ve ever had.

Since many robotics operate on the computer programming system Arduino, Arduino is one of the most important programs for young robotics enthusiasts to learn. Arduino introductory kits include step-by-step instructions to guide middle school students through the coding process. Most of these kits are compatible with Mac, Windows, or Linux.

While other kits might also include mechanics and motor skill learning, these kits are essentially control boards so that kids can focus on programming alone. Kids will develop such skills as gathering data from input sensors, processing data, and demonstrating date with output devices.

Students will work with and manipulate such devices as motion and light detection/alarms, countdown timer, digital combination security device, infrared signal decoder, and signal repeater LED Color fading/changing devices, additional data recorders, infrared remote controlled devices binary and digital alarm clocks, and a digital battery tester.

Students who need assistance during the course of programming their control board can turn to instructions included or to an online community of Arduino experimenters and experts.

Prices will vary. More sophisticated versions can range between $200-300.



Stack it High

Educational bots come in all shapes and sizes, and some you may never guess would be bots at all.  Robotics hobby kits for middle school students in the form of an interactive tower teach kids what it’s like to build a functioning machine—from the mechanical aspects to the fine motor skills required to build a machine with careful precision.

Middle school students will be given parts that function as slides, chutes, trampolines, and funnels. Kids are given a wide assortment of sizes, shapes, color, and function of individual parts to allow for optimum creativity and imagination.

These machine kits help kids understand the versatility and out-of-the-box thinking required across the STEM fields. They’ll also learn in a group setting to communicate and brainstorm ideas. They’ll have to problem solve and review their end goals based on their successes and setbacks along the building process. Ultimately, they’ll learn there is no one right answer in construction and execution of even the world’s most intricate and advanced robots.

Similar, simplified versions are available for a younger age range. Middle school-appropriate kits can cost between $100-150.

Encouraging middle school students to interact with robots in and out of the classroom has resounding effects. As kids gain experience working alone and in group’s to solve robotics problems of construction, coding, and technology, they’ll be perfecting skills in communication and problem solving that will serve them well years down the road.

Students who pursue robotics as a hobby have the added benefit of working in a comfortable learning setting, at home or with friends. Robotics hobby kits for middle school students can turn kids on to new aspects of the science world and have them thinking critically about the world around them and how to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

Derek Capo