Robotics is fast becoming an integral part of the school curriculum with it’s ability to integrate across a broad range of topics, most notably the Technology, Science and Math Key Learning Areas.
Robotics encourages kids to think creatively, analyse situations and apply critical thinking and problem solving skills to real world problems. Teamwork and co-operation are a cornerstone of any robotics project. Students learn it is acceptable to make mistakes, especially if it leads them to better solutions.
Robotics is a fun and engaging way to teach fundamental technology, maths and science concepts. There are several key facets that the teaching of robotics promotes:
* Problem Analysis: Robotics encourages students to take a broad look at a situation and identify exactly what problem needs to be solved. Real world applications are easily found, giving students context for their project. Before any construction can begin, students must identify “what need will this robot fulfill?”. With this in mind, how should the robot be designed to meet these need?
* Real World Design: With an application in mind and an idea of implementation, students can now begin the design process. This stage provides great rewards for students as the as they produce physical realisations of conceptual ideas. There is plenty of opportunity for refinement and improvement as they discover errors in their plans and issues they would never have considered during the design stage. Prototypes are quickly built and just as quickly discarded with lessons learnt as students progress towards an optimal solution. Resources must be managed and compromise made between form, function and cost.
* Programming: There are a variety of programming languages available for robotics, from graphical development environments to text based languages. Programming skills teach students to think logically and to consider multiple situations, as they learn a robot will do exactly as it is told, no more and no less. Information from a variety of sensors must be processed and dealt with logically and as with the design stage, there is ample opportunity for trial and error as students fine tune their robots to perform at their best.