Robots Continue to Increase Interest in Science

Dec 8, 2013

As technology continues to advance, it is creating opportunities for students to learn and grow with it. Industrial robots are growing in their popularity and helping to bring increased productivity to production lines across the globe.


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.

Robots​.com 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 8777626881.

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