Reasons Why High School Kids Should Design and Build Robots

  • Are you as keen on Robotics as I am? Did you get the chance to learn to code and build robots at high school? Did you get the chance to be part of the STEM curriculum? Were you perhaps born before the advent of the internet? If so, you probably have children who are currently in school. Are they in a school where there is the opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary robotics team where they learn to solve some of the global issues currently facing us?

    There a currently a global shortage of innovators, scientists, and engineers. What happens when all of our current engineers retire? Who will take their place? We belong to the information age where our kids spend most of their spare time on the internet. What are they really doing? Are they consuming existing services and content, or are they working on solving some of the global issues mentioned earlier.

    What is STEM?

    STEM is a "curriculum based on the idea of educating students in four specific disciplines — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — in an interdisciplinary and applied approach. Rather than teach the four disciplines as separate and discrete subjects, STEM integrates them into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications."

    The aim of the STEM program is to help increase both interest and proficiency in Mathematics, Science, and Technology. Globally both the interest and proficiency in these subjects is declining; thereby resulting in reduced numbers of qualified engineers and scientists graduating from our universities.

    What are robots?

    A robot is a machine designed to execute one or more tasks automatically with speed and precision. There are as many different types of robots as there are tasks for them to perform.”

    Robots are built in all shapes and sizes, depending on the task that they have to perform. They can take the human form, look like motor vehicles, insects, and drones. The single most defining factor for their shape is the work that they are designed to do.

    For example, a robot that is designed to spot-weld car bodies together is constructed of a long arm that can reach from one side of the car’s body to the other side. Another example is the use of robots to help us manage our daily lives is the fact that robots being integrated into our home appliances. This concept is more commonly known as the Internet of Things (IoT).

    How do STEM and robotics work together?

    Building robots and the science of robotics is used to teach the principles in the STEM syllabus. Teams of high-school students work together to build and code robots as part of their Robotics STEM education; thereby strategising and finding ways to solve real-world issues. Many of these solutions are implemented in the real-world; thus enabling kids to be part of the solution to many global problems.

    Final words

    It has been proven that a blended learning environment such as the STEM curriculum will go a long way towards encouraging kids to study mathematics, engineering, and science at a tertiary level. This will then reduce the global shortage of workers working in these disciplines.

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