Robots as a Teaching Tool

As a child, one of the leading indicators to my future profession as an engineer was my fascination with robots.  I’ve always been more interested in how they work than in what they were doing. I thought that the best job in the world would be to make robots. I grew up near NASA during the race for the moon and was privileged to interact with Apollo astronauts training to land the lunar module on the moon. But I would have to wait another 15 years before I got a chance to work on actual robots.

I don’t know a kid that doesn’t get excited about robots, so it only makes sense to use them as a tool to teach. The multi-disciplinary nature of robotics makes them a perfect vehicle to teach elements of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science. There are two notable groups engaged in bringing science education to youth through the use of robotics: FIRST and FIRST LEGO League. The goal of these community organizations is to engage children meaningful, but fun, learning with science-based competition.

Kids today have many ways to satiate there interest in robotics, however. It is an exciting time to be a student, as new opportunities to learn occur almost on a daily basis. If you are interested in robotics educational programs check out the following:

2 Comments

  1. Bryan
    Posted February 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    I have wondered what would be a good way to get my nieces and nephew interested in real technology (beyond toys and mp3 players). At such a young age they are typically thinking about sweets, forts, dress up and Wii, etc.

    The links really help put it together and shape a package of information for their parents.
    Thanks for a great article that could start someone else’s technical career.

  2. WR
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    It’s amazing how much kids identify with Robots when they see them. I showed my 4 (now 5) year old a YouTube video of Kiva robots dancing – and he hasn’t stopped building box robots yet.

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