Robots on a tour of discovery in primary schools

Robotic courses/Learning with robots – simply brilliant

Technology, science and mathematics loom large nowadays. The earlier girls and boys retain the reference to the different MINT subjects (Mathematics, Informatics, Natural Science and Technology), the easier it will be for them to identify with professions or degree courses later.

Robots, technology and natural science are only for adults? Certainly not!

”Robotics courses should be equally fascinating and encouraging for both girls and boys.”
We would like to teach children and teenagers in a fun and fascinating way how to construct an individual, operative robot with the right equipment.

In our courses the practical test of the construction of a robot, the operation and the programming as well as the reasearch of opportunities of the LEGO MINDSROEMA NXT build the main focus for the students.

With the help of the graphical LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT programming environment, two-person teams learn to programme their own robot. With only a few mouse clicks and with the help of easy symbols, it is easy for students to apply first experiences and operate the robot. After installing sensors, the robots respond to differences in brightness, noises or obstacles.

Not only the programming of given examples is the aim of the course but also the implementation of the students’ own ideas. The teacher supports the student and gives advice and suggestions.

What leads my robot to operate independently? How does he know in which direction he should go? Why does he respond to contact and differences of brightness?

During the trial course, the basics of robots are explained. At the same time, the sensor technology is presented (response to contact, noises and differences of brightness. In order to breath life into the robot, the first programming steps are explained. Students are able to test and decide whether they want to expand their course knowledge.

Trial course: 5 x 1.5 hours

Why does the robot follow a sketched out line? How do legs of a scorpion move? Are robots able to dance or race against each other?

Basis for the entry to an expert course is the previous participation in a trial course respectively relevant knowledge of LEGO Mindstorms NXT. There is a variety of different topics and programming possibilities. An expample would be an excursus of robots in wildlife, so that the movement of the animals is reconstructed by the robots and their behaviour is programmed. With a little bit of skill and fiddling the robot can communicate with other robots, dance and make music and even perform short plays after only a short time.

Expert course: individual arrangements are made depending on participant numbers and demand.

We offer our holiday courses during the whole year, wether summer-, autumn- or winter holidays.

Grandparents and their grandchildren can form a strong team who can benefit from each other. Especially during the school holidays they often spend time together, give patience and attention which their parents do not often have during their occupational stress in daily routine.

Grandchildren often beam with thirst for knowledge, eagerness to learn and interest in new technics. Through these joint hours, grandparents stay young, mentally fit and encouraged to reflect and learn and enjoy the feeling to be needed and appreciated.

Our offer:
Grandmothers and grandfathers construct and programme a robot together with their grandchildren. Thereby everyone may become a designer and engineer.

Aims:

  • Construction of a robot
  • Programming of a robot with the graphical programming
  • Presentation of the robots

Day courses: 6 hours

Roberta® is a concept which is equally interesting for girls and both. It was developed to increase the percentage of women in technical subjects and occupations and to reduce the scarcity of technical specialists.

Roberta® facilitates the entry into technology
A special focus is on the identification of topics which might interest girls, for example analogies with natural science.

For example the cardinal beetle as an experiment of the temperature sensor. For advanced learners, the “ant trail” is a good choice. It combines the experiment “Search for tracks”, “Avoid obstacles” and “communication with robot ants”. Such example you find in the Roberta® learning and teaching material. Although the training material should attract in the first place, it is also suitable for boys.

Accompanying research for a sustainable effect
Roberta® was initiated by Fraunhofer IAIS in 2002 and supported by the Federal Mistery for education and research BMBF until 2006. Attractiveness and quality of the Roberta® courses were evaluated nationally and all over Europe by an independent accompanying research of the University Bremen.

Such evaluations are essential for research projects which should have a sustainable effect and may serve as a model for other projects. The research was executed based on two central questions:

  • How does interest in active design of technologies emerge from technology usage and the understanding of technology?
  • How do learning environments have to be designed in order to adapt course aims and contents optimally on the one hand and to achieve the learning requirements/previous understanding on the other hand?

Dipl. Ing. Computer Scientist
Katrin Gerling

is in charge of the courses in primary school as a certified course instructor of the Roberta® programme with didactical-educational background and experience in the IT technical field. She resorts to a rich stock of experience and has been in charge of different age groups in Germany as well as abroad since 2003. With them, she successfully participated in many national and international competitions, for example in the RoboCup World Championship in Bremen 2006 with a girls team and the RoboCup World Championship in Atlanta 2007 when the team won the “Programming Award”

E-Mail: roboter@q-fin.de

At the primary school “St. Mechthild Grundschule” in Magdeburg robotic courses have been undertaken for several years. Robotic courses are established and well attended of all primary students. In these courses students learn how to construct a robot and how to breathe life into these roboty by programming at a computer.

Play „The Hare and the Hedgehog“
The play was developed by the collaboration of different groups – beginning with the programming of the robots “Hare” and “Hedgehog”, the stage set and ending with the reader of the story as well as the organisation of the performance – everything was developed by children. Of course there were numerous helpers who contributed a huge proportion to the success of the performance.

The idea of the project is it to provide students of grade 2 to 4 from all over Saxony Anhalt the opportunity to test and experiment with informatics and technology.
Part of the project is our offer to execute these courses directly in the primary schools with the robot construction kits, lap tops and trained staff.
For the easy entry the LEGO Mindstorms NXT Kit is used which includes individual parts of the robots.
Many different course offers, everyone finds the right thing
Many primary school students attend the after-school care. That is why this time is ideal to execute robotics courses. All courses may also be done within the scope of subject-specific projects ir school project weeks in the morning. Individual arrangements are always possible.
General requriements
The child is attending primary school and can read and write (grade 2 to 4). The number of participants is limited to 12 in order to guarantee an unlimited construction and operation. The minimum participant number is five.

Photos

System requirements

We work with LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT (Basis Set) and the software LEGO MINDSTORMS Education NXT Software 1.1.