5 Benefits of Introducing Robotics to Elementary School Students
By Qing Hua, CEO
When I introduced robotics to my elementary kids, I didn’t expect that one day they would assemble their own IKEA storage units. In the same way that they handled their robotics parts, they quickly located the instructions, gathered the tools, identified the parts, and just started assembling. Within an hour, they put together their own first IKEA sets, and declared: ”this is fun!”
Having spent the last several years in the field of education robotics, I often get asked what the value of robotics classes for elementary school kids is. A quick answer would be: robotics gives kids opportunities to learn technology while not being glued to screens, reinforce their coding and other academic skills, increase their patience and tenacity, gain a better understanding of the world they live in, and practice transferable skills such as creative thinking, communication, collaboration, and problem solving skills.
Let me explain each of these points in detail.
Benefit 1: Learn technology while not being glued to screens
Research has shown that hands-on learning benefits our kids’ brains and mental strength. Our kids are spending an average of 6–9 hours a day on screen. Robotics is a great choice for them to learn technology while not spending the entire time on the screen. With that idea in mind, we researched education robotics on the market and found that they mostly fall into two categories: construction and coding. Popular products such as LEGO, VEX, RoboRobo, Makeblock are considered construction robotics; products such as Sphero, Ozobot, Dash and Dot are considered coding robotics.
Since many young learners grow up putting Lego blocks together and making Play-Doh sculptures, it is very natural to start their robotics learning with building. Students follow the instructions to assemble the parts to make them work mechanically. Students usually take 30~90 minutes to get the robot built mechanically correct. They also work to make sure that the electronic components are connected correctly. Then there is the coding, in which kids program how they want their robots to react to the inputs it receives.
It is very common for students to get things wrong the first time. They need to reread the instructions, troubleshoot, and redo some steps. Once students are comfortable with following instructions, they can create their own robots out of their own imaginations.
If you are interested in robotics classes for your kids, please visit our course page.
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Founder & CEO
Qing is passionate about fusing education, technology, industry, diversity, and human empathy to make this world a better place through education. Before starting Build a Robot K12, Qing worked in the telecommunication industry for 15 years as a senior engineer, engineering manager, and a product manager. Qing holds a MBA and a MS in Telecommunication from University of Colorado at Boulder, a MA in Communications from University of Delaware, and a BS in Electronics Engineering from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. She currently serves on the Colorado Department of Education Gifted Education State Advisory Committee. Outside of work, Qing enjoys books, new tech, music, the outdoors, and exploring new places and cultures.