THIS POST IS FROM A WIMBERLEY NEWS & VIEWS ARTICLE MARSHA ACOCK WROTE IN FALL 2015, BUT IT STILL RESONATES TODAY--ESPECIALLY WITH THE SCHOOL EXPANDING ITS CODING AND ROBOTICS INITIATIVES FOR THE 2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR TO INCLUDE EVEN PREK4-2ND GRADE EARLY LEARNERS WITH MAKE WONDER'S DOT AND DASH ROBOTICS PROGRAM!
As schools across the country place more emphasis on their STEAM curriculum (academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, art, and math), some have chosen to utilize robots. This might immediately conjure up visions of the Jetsons, the 1960’s futuristic TV cartoon favorite, but use of robotics as a tool to teach STEAM basics may provide the “hardest fun” students will ever experience.
Not only are the STEAM subjects of programming, design, math, science, and engineering part of the visual learning that is robotics, but the valuable “4Cs” skills of creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and communication are also built into a robotics program. As pairs of students work together to tackle building and programming their robot for a specific purpose or challenge, students must work together, brainstorm approaches, try out solutions, reflect on what worked and didn’t, encourage one another, play various roles, and find and utilize each one’s strengths. Students have multiple opportunities to try out ideas and refine their work. This is hands-on and minds-on learning at its best, and kids can’t get enough of it. As each challenge becomes more difficult, the problem solving moves to new levels, and each student’s internal motivation drives them to try and try again as they move toward their goal.
Perhaps the greatest lesson that a robotics program can teach students is that trying something without succeeding is not failing but is simply a necessary step on a path to success. The experience of Thomas Edison’s 10,000 tries before creating a successful filament for his light bulb, becomes real to students as they tackle more complex and novel problems. The excitement and engagement that a robotics program brings to students is the perfect use of technology to teach resilience and risk-taking without students even knowing that they are absorbing the basics of otherwise abstract and difficult STEAM concepts. Even the Jetsons’ world couldn’t dream this would be the future of education.
***FOR MORE INFORMATION ON WONDER WORKSHOP'S ROBOTICS PROGRAM FOR EARLY LEARNERS, VISIT MAKEWONDER.COM ***