Robots Continue to Increase Interest in Science
As technology progresses, the leaders in education hope that students’ interest in science will grow proportionally. One way to capture students’ attention in science is to introduce them to the dynamic field of robotics. Many educators claim that robots help students transform science concepts into concrete real-world understanding. Despite the growing popularity of robotics competitions such as FIRST LEGO league, robotics activities are still scarce from regular K-12 classrooms. When robots are incorporated, however, significant increases in science understanding can occur.
LEGO Education WeDo Robotics system allows students to build simple machines featuring working motors and sensors. They can also program their models using WeDo software. The activity pack includes 12 activities and explores different themes. Students usually modify the activities themselves as they become more involved in exploring the robot. As students work with this system, they become motivated to learn and explore, as well as problem solve. Some of these scientific topics are not taught easily out of a textbook, but are very effective when students learn by using a hands-on approach.
In some school districts, technology and resources are simply not available to help promote students’ interest in science and robotics. In Kansas, many schools are unable to provide access to technical resources to further interest in science education. The Robot Roadshow Program was developed to utilize robots as a vehicle to excite children about science, and it is presented at schools without necessary resources. The Kansas State University Robotics Team travels to the school and brings robots with them. The program got its start from Cub Scouts that were interested in robots, whose enthusiasm transferred into the creation of the program. The Robot Roadshow Program goals are to create an opportunity for schools with limited resources to have access, to allow students to enjoy science and math, to allow students to build a relationship between the study of science and math with interesting topics like robots, and to create processes to reinforce the experience. Although this program is relatively new, success is initially indicated.
A study conducted at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln demonstrated that students involved in a science and technology curriculum based on robotics increased the achievement scores of children aged 9-11. Youth in the robotic intervention group as compared with the control group had a significant increase in mean scores on a posttest.
Programmable robots like Lego Mindstorms are effective in teaching computer programming and scientific concepts to children at school. Increasing interest in both of these topics is important, and robots can be used as a cornerstone in course concepts.
As robotics companies are becoming increasingly more interested in scientific research, the correlation between robots and science is even more influential. If students can learn about robots early, their interest in the sciences will be piqued and can have an impact on their future career choices.
RobotWorx proudly helps multiple school robot programs, such as at Ohio State University. We believe that automation is a key factor to keep jobs local and stay competitive in the industrial world. If you are interested in industrial robot integration, contact us today online or at 740-251-4312.