What is the appropriate age to start students with robotics? Based on my observations from the Lego Robotics Camp I taught recently at Saint Paul’s School, I would advocate no later than Kindergarten! Unless we challenge our students early, we will never know what they can do! Maybe not all Kindergarteners are ready for Lego NXT or EV3, but they probably could do the Lego WeDo. You do not need to able to read to build or program a robot! Take a look at the following video from my camp. There were two 4th Graders, five 3rd Graders, six 2nd Graders, seven 1st Graders, and two Kindergarteners. At Saint Paul’s School in Clearwater, we will be expanding robotics from PreK through Middle School for the next school year.
At Saint Paul’s School in Clearwater we have a dedicated Lego® Lab. Having a Lego Robotics program is an essential component of any STEM curriculum and authentic learning experience. Lego Robotics engages students with real world design and engineering challenges. Students build and program very complicated robots. Some of the directions are over 80 pages long just to build the robot! Students also learn computer programming skills and techniques to control their creations. By working in teams that foster collaboration and communication, students learn problem solving skills.
The programming requires students to convert what they want the robot to do into flow chart style programming. For example students must know the circumference of a robot wheel to convert it to a specific distance traveled. The students are learning a higher level of math without realizing it, and because they see the result in motion, they understand the mathematical concept.
If you are interested in starting a Robotics program at your school, please contact me!