My first class on Robotics was last Monday. This class is currently for 4th and 5th grade students and is using EZ-Robot products. The class is strictly voluntary and is taught after school. 50% of the students that are in the 4th and 5th grade have chosen to stay at school an extra hour to learn about robotics through this program. We have called the program SM@RT which stands for Science and Math through Robotic Technology. There are other programs currently running that other students had previously committed to participating in that are held at the same time. Some of these programs are over in December and I expect that participation percentage to be closer to 60% by that time. Here is what some of the parents had to say about the program after only the first day...
Stacie Smith Cobbs Sounds fun! Grace really wanted to take the class and she was so disappointed to find out it was during allegro. Which also is on Mondays.
School board member
Stacy O'Toole Webb They are SO excited! Thank you from all
Stacy O'Toole Webb And, now we are doing chores to earn a robot. Whatever it takes.
Melissa French Luke F. loved it! Thank you for giving of your time and knowledge!
Headmaster who saw some of the first lesson
Steve Lessman Incredible! Thank you for using your knowledge & insight to help students at SWCS.
Rick Megan Still Ethan loved it, he wouldn't stop talking about it all the way home! Thank you!
Christi Jones-Martin Great! Grayson will be joining you in January when Allegro ends!
Mykl Spaeny You blew my boys away! They talked my leg off tonight. Jake has put a robot on his Christmas list. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Thank you EZ-Robot for making it easy to teach a subject that is so complex. I cant wait until they make the robot move for the first time.
We covered a lot in the firs class including
Default wire colors and what they represent
Sonar sensors - how they work and what they are used for
IR distance sensors - How they work and what they are used for
Light sensors - How they work and what they are used for
Cameras - When they work great and when you would want to use other sensors instead
Microphones - when you would use them and why
Servo motors - how they work and when you would want to use them
Stepper motors - How they work and when you would want to use them
Analog ports on the EZ-B V4
Digital ports on the EZ-B V4
Camera port on the EZ-B V4
They soaked the information in like a sponge. I quizzed them at the end of the class some and they did great. Tomorrow I am going to go meet these students for lunch. I look forward to it.
The next lesson is going to be on Electricity. That is a huge subject but we will cover
Electrons, Protons, and neutrons
How batteries work
How electricity flows through their robots.
How to limit this electricity for devices that require less voltage
I have some fun ways of teaching about electricity that help the kids remember principles of electricity that many people dont understand.
Feel free to follow the students progress at HTTP://cochranrobotics.com/SMART
OK, now you're making me want to sit in on some of your classes.
the chairs are to small!
That's awesome! Have you considered recording the sessions? It might help other kids and encourage more teacher if they see how its done.
I have. being the first class, I was somewhat frazzled and less organized than I want to be. going forward they will be recorded.
Wow that is great feedback. I am very excited to see the make/female diversity as well! That says a lot about the upcoming industry. Where there is a good chance that it won't be a male dominated workplace for robotics. Your Activities must be reaching the children's interest. Thank you for sharing as always!
Right now the class is 20% female. I really really really want more girls in this class. This is being somewhat undermined by my wife who works with the cheer team at the secondary school. She is also very involved with the school and has the cheer leaders coming over to the elementary to do things with the students after school on the same day that I have the robotics club. This has attracted some of the 4th and 5th grade girl students, but I am gaining traction.
I see it as a huge potential for the creative minds of females and I really want more of them to participate. My hope is that the students spent time talking to the other students that are not attending and are going to encourage more of them to attend. I will let you know what happens next Monday.
I love seeing kids becoming engaged with robotics.
I will agree the students look like sponges taking it all in!
@d.cochran, that is amazing! I too am really excited about getting girls into robotics. It's funny that the younger you get them, the more girls are interested. I think this proves that it's society, not nature, that's telling girls not to pursue these paths and interests, and it's really all about educating them and getting them excited early.
Great job! Keep it up! You're doing the important job.
This is really exciting to see, and I wish something like this had been available when I was their age. I did take an after-school robotics class in high school, but at the time, we were mostly really just making big oddly shaped R/C cars, and the educational aspect was more focused on the physical construction than the capabilities (this was in the day when a Tandy TRS-80 was considered a high powered personal computer. before the first IBM PC).
I had found plans for an arm and gripper that my team wanted to build, but the skills and materials required didn't fit the time available for the class (only 12 sessions of about 90 minutes each).
Good luck on the additional sessions. It looks like you are off to a great start.