STEM Tools

IT’S EVERYWHERE!  Robotics  is one the hottest topics in education today!  Why?  Whether you use an engineering and science curriculum to incorporate robotics into your classroom or provide robotics curricular connections, robotics is simply real-world learning, which requires students to APPLY what they have learned in a very tangible way.  ROBOSOURCING will be commonplace in the years ahead, and students with an aptitude for understanding the fundamentals of robotics programming and design will be prepared to engage in Robosourcing workplace.  Robotics is creative problem solving and requires “design thinking” on the part of the student.  On so many levels, Robotics in education IS higher level, real-world learning.  It just happens to also be….FUN!

Robotic technology in the news:  A mosquito drone


Lego Mindstorms NXT or EV3 or VEX Robotics Kits:

Try Lego Mindstorms NXT or EV3 Robot kits for play AND for learning, because they are widely used and easy to learn.  In addition, resources for using Mindstorms in education are plentiful.

ANOTHER ANYTIME ACTIVITY: Have students DESIGN a robot that solves a household  problem.  For example, students might design a robot that turns on a light (flips a switch) on cue, or design a machine that can walk the perimeter of a room on cue, a pre-cursor to designing a robotic vacuum cleaner.

Visit NASA’s website for activities that could correspond to your units of study or be incorporated as enrichment opportunities.  In each of these lesson plans, read through and don’t feel like you need to do every step.  Use the lessons as a guide only.  Skip to the actual activity and adapt it to your student’s needs.  If you are using Robotics lessons as enrichment, students can be given a general task and left to “tinker” on their own.  They WILL “get it” and they’ll do so much more quickly than most of the adults in their world.  Simply put, they are wired differently than we are: