Top 10 Reasons to Teach Robotics in High School
Top 10 Reasons to Teach Robotics in High School
Stakes have been raised for students in high school. All of a sudden, 17 and 18 years olds are under pressure to find out what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Who can blame them for being overwhelmed with such a big decision? After all, the average adult makes anywhere from 5 to 7 career changes throughout their lifetime. The best way to get high schoolers prepared for their future is by letting them dip their feet in as many pools as possible.
Robotics is the perfect outlet to open students up to the possibilities of science as a potential career path. Whether students have some experience with robotics or none at all, they’re sure to benefit when robots become a bigger part of classroom direction.
What’s the big fuss anyway?
#1 Coding Credentials
After high school graduation or college commencement, students will enter the professional workforce for the first time. For some students, coding might be a dream job. For others, simply honing their coding skills could serve them well short-term in a marketplace yearning for qualified coders. High school students who participate in robotics programming will have a specialized skill that sets them apart from other job applicants.
Of course, learning coding is more than punching in a few algorithms. It teaches other important life skills like trial and error testing, collaboration, expression of ideas and perseverance.
#2 Outside-the-Box Thinking
The last years of high school better prepare students for what the rigor of university-level academics will be like. As students progress in their academics, they’ll have to create original work that can then be tested and defended.
Robotics prepares students for situations with complex answers. Testing limits and thinking outside the box is crucial to robotics design and innovation. Students will constantly be asking themselves, How can we make this operate more accurately? With better sensors? And at high efficiency?
These pressing questions let students think analytically, using process-of-elimination reasoning.
#3 Academic Drive
As it has been said before, it’s never too late to chase your dreams? Some students take longer to discern what their top career and academic interests are than others. There’s nothing wrong with taking a little extra time to evaluate interests and talents. But of course, the hesitation makes some parents concerned their child will opt out of making plans for their future.
Students who participate in robotics workshops are surrounded by other students hooked on academic pursuits. That doesn’t mean all high school students will come out of robotics workshops determined to be scientists. However, high school students will have positive peer pressure and qualified mentorship to guide them on the right path towards discovering their true passions.
#4 A Resume Builder
It’s that time of year again… Students and parents are ramping up for the often dreaded college applications. Prospective colleges want to see that incoming students have the diversity and drive to succeed in their schools. Students who have the academic credentials on paper but none of the extracurricular enhancement won’t stand out as much as students who have both. Getting involved in after-school activities like robotics proves dedication, focus, and natural curiosity. Especially for students with other primary academic interests, robotics club shows diversity in academic pursuits.
#5 Added Resources
While simple robot activities can be downloaded off the internet and done from the comfort of home, there’s a lot to be said from the resources available in public schools and after-school clubs.
The major benefit in introducing robots in a high school classroom is that school district budgeting allows for more advanced resources. For smaller school districts who can’t afford kits for full class sizes, classes can be divided into two sections to ensure all students have at least half a class period dedicated to hands-on experimentation.
#6 Team Building
In high school, it seems inevitable that cliques among peer groups will form. However, students interested in robotics must work together no matter their circle of comfort with familiar friends. Clear communication between all team members of all backgrounds is key. Equal amounts of brainpower, manual work, and programming are all of the utmost importance.
One reason teaching robots to high school students is because team building reinforces students’ individual strengths and supports their weaknesses with support from the rest of their group. Often, the best learning happens in peer-to-peer interaction within a diversified group.
#7 Long-Term Investment
Don’t settle for a few workshop lessons. Students introduced to robot building from freshman year have four years to build on their skills. Its important teachers make an effort from early in students’ high school careers to introduce the world of robotics so that students can build a framework for themselves.
Students should be encouraged through in-class instruction and after-school clubs to set the bar higher with their designs, to push the boundaries and make informed decisions.
#8 Independent Research
At the high school level especially, students should be leading their learning, not the teachers. When it comes to developing advanced prototypes, students should be doing their own research online, among their peer team members. In addition to primary research, students should also be asking themselves how they can improve the design and what steps are needed in the process.
#9 Connection to Real World Science
You won’t hear the words, So when am I ever going to use this?? in a robotics workshop. Robots are all around us, every day. As student observe the role technology plays in their lives, they’ll start to notice the full potential of innovative robot design. There’s no better lesson than learning by doing. Robotics encourage students to put their acquired knowledge to the test.
#10 Creative Problem Solving
Sometimes even high school students need that extra nudge to prove they can come up with the right answer on their own. Robot designs are not hidden somewhere in the back of a book. Rather, students will stumble upon the best design trials simply after testing out models, reasoning, and examine what modifications can be made.
When students are allowed to make mistakes, their creativity can take them anywhere.