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4 Robots That Teach Children Science and Math in Engaging Ways

Modular, programmable automatons make STEM learning fun


Robots are proving to be valuable educational tools from the lower grades all the way up to graduate school.
Credit: Play-i Images

Robots can capture a child’s imagination like no other tool by creating a fun, physical learning process. With robots, kids learn programming via interactive play by moving a robot in various sequences and using intuitive, visual programming on a computer screen. The children also learn STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by watching and interacting with robots that demonstrate the practical results of the day’s lesson. “Kids recognize when they are learning something themselves—robots give them that,” says Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, a research organization that specializes in educational technology. Robots are proving to be valuable educational tools from the lower grades all the way up to graduate school. “Building and programming these devices is part of becoming a creative science and engineering kind of person,” he adds.
 
Furthermore, by interacting with robots, kids learn a component of programming known as computational thinking—without even realizing it. This programming may be visual at first but over time it transitions to the kind of character-based coding that enables machines to execute more complex missions.
 
Educational automatons take many forms—including mini humanoids, boxes on wheels and multirotor flying drones. Scientific American highlights four platforms that demonstrate a robot’s educational prowess.

 
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