A STEM classroom activity to try at home (it's fun!)
We love hearing about how kids, parents, and teachers are playing with our apps. So we were pretty excited to see this story on Mashable about students in Brooklyn designing robots with The Robot Factory to solve problems at their school.
Too much horsing around in the lunch line? There’s a robot for that. Too much noise at recess? There’s a robot for that, too. Trash on the ground? You bet there’s a robot for that. To solve these problems and more, co-teachers Stacy Butsikares and Allison Bookbinder developed a smart activity that you can challenge your kids with at home, too.
- Ask your kids to come up with a problem or a task that you all need help with at home. It can be anything — from getting them out the door on time to applying sunscreen (or both! Is it possible to get a sun-protected kid outside in less than half an hour?) — but the key is to get them to think about and write out the problem first.
- Hand over the The Robot Factory on the iPad and let the kids build a robot to solve the problem. Kids can make their robots as elaborate or as simple as they like. They can add zephyr mechanisms, laser blasters, and Hi-5s to make getting the job done efficient and fun. Bonus: for extra inspiration, download The Robot Factory Technical Manual, (it’s free!) complete with a code of ethics for young engineers and a guide to robot parts like wibbly arms and gangliodomes.
- Have kids draw their robots at work. Maybe they’ll also want to design a slide next to the stairs so they can go flying out the door!
It's a simple idea but there are so many things going on in this activity that we love. Kids are asked to think about the world around them and develop questions that they also have to seek answers to. We know that asking questions is essential to learning — and figuring out the right questions to ask is increasingly a key to success. But importantly, we adults are also involved in the process of developing and asking questions. Research shows that when kids and parents play together, kids learn more. And lastly, in this activity kids further their onscreen learnings offscreen.
How do you and your kids play with The Robot Factory? We love hearing your stories. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org anytime.
Mashable also highlighted our friends at Hopscotch. The app is an excellent tool for teaching kids the building blocks of programming. Plus, they also offer lots of resources to support you and your kid’s learning at home and in the classroom. Happy tinkering!