The fun and education of robots for youth

Youth engaging in robotics programs build on their mathematic and creative skills, working to ensure that they are better able to compete in STEM career fields.

The Michigan STEM Vital Signs: Change the Equation publication states that the future of Michigan depends on its ability to boost student performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They continue that the young people in Michigan will increasingly face stiff competition for jobs from people across the world; to succeed in the global economy, Michigan students will need a much stronger foundation in STEM subject areas. According to the 2011 Michigan student performance on the ACT exam, only 17.3 percent of our high school graduates are college- or career-ready without remediation.

The experiential learning, fun and educational opportunity building robots presents is one way to shape a youths’ STEM and creative skills. An expensive robot kit does not need to be purchased to inspire a young mind in creativity by making his or her personal robot. The 4-H Robotics Curriculum Junk Drawer Robots has educational modules where youth learn different aspects of robotics and design.

The National 4-H explains, “Robotics programs not only engage young people and adult mentors, but they also provide an opportunity for local 4-H Robotics Club members to interact with engineering experts in their communities. The curricula teaches young people design fundamentals by challenging them to think creatively and critically as they build their own robots to solve an engaging set of problems.”

The LEGO education also provides hands-on science, technology, engineering and math. Each lesson has unique solutions for educators bringing more innovations and creativity to their classrooms. It’s exciting to watch young engineers create robots from simple items from a junk drawer, craft box or a purchased robot kit.

The building process of measuring, calculating and evaluating these simple robots can assist in increasing mathematic skills and test scores. Overall, the building of a simple aluminum foil, paperclip and google-eyed robot may be the spark in building a youths’ future higher education or career goals in a STEM related field. Who knows? They may even become a robotics engineer.

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