Robotics isn't just about STEM training. It is also about important life skills. Plus, quite frankly, it's just a lot of fun! We want our students to leave each session with the idea that Robotics is one of many possible fields that they can go into. Once our students go through the design, building, and coding phases they will see how it all goes together. Seeing that light go off in their brain is one of the most rewarding experiences.
Being part of a robotics team has many great benefits. Students will learn about problem solving, team work, and creative design. And, learning doesn't just stop there. They will also learn communication, leadership, and time management. This is typically a different experience from most STEM projects that are individual focused. The final piece of the STEM+ experience that CodeForce advocates is that all robotics projects must end in a presentation.
A presentation accomplishes multiple goals. For one, it gives the students public speaking opportunities and it requires them to articulate why they made certain decisions about building and design. We also encourage them to talk about what didn't go well or what just flat out failed. This is particularly important because it teaches them that for one, failure is okay. Secondly it teaches them that it's okay to admit failure and to learn from it. So many times I have worked with kids that were paranoid about being wrong and heaven forbid they be wrong in public. A robotics project will be filled with failures - but each failure is an opportunity to learn and improve.
The final point that I want to touch on is teamwork. The ability to work in a team is paramount to any success you will find in a STEM field. To successfully deliver a robotics program, the kids will have to learn to work as a team. There will be disagreements and multiple potential ways to solve a problem. Learning to work as a team is one of the first things that they will need to do. In every session we find a way to work on team building activities and give them tools necessary to learn how to work through disagreements and learning to depend on each other.
Our first official robotics team kicks off in May. Our goal is to teach students important STEM and life skills through a challenging and fun project...on oh, by the way, they get to build a really cool robot....and learn something about Meteorology. In the Fall, we will kick off our First Lego League and First Lego League Jr. teams. This summer is going to be a blast.
You can read more about our summer robotics club here: https://www.codeforceoswego.com/events/summer-robotics-ages-7-14