The Junior Exceeders curriculum is designed to introduce robotics to children ages 7 and 8 years old using Lego motors, sensors and bricks, programmed using a user-friendly graphical software installed on IPADs. Each lesson presents simplified concepts in engineering, biology or physics, after which students are guided to build and program a specific robot. The investigation portion of the class teaches the presented concepts through experimentation, using their built and programmed robots.
Lesson topics of the first Junior course include speed and time, force and friction, animal metamorphosis, space exploration, etc. In the following course, students are guided to build and program their own custom robots relating to a particular lesson, unleashing their creativity and expanding their knowledge base. The third and following series of courses use a more complex robotics platform (LEGO EV3 Mindstorms) with additional types of sensors and motors. With a more advanced robot and programming software, more advanced projects are assigned throughout courses JR400-JR600.
- No prior experience needed
- Fun and engaging courses using numbers and geometry in Robotics
- Modules in programming, 3D Print and Circuits
- Option to continue to Exceeders program to learn coding and Micro-Controllers in Robotics
- 6 kids maximum per class
- Students work individually on projects
- Program includes competitions with prizes
Module 1: Introduction to Robot Programming
The first module is 24 weeks starting with a combination of build and program to use kid’s familiarity with build and transition it into programming. Student will build projects and use IPADs and simple drag&drop programs to create logic for the projects using a motor and a sensor.
Module 2: Programming Logic
Second module is 32 weeks starting with programming robots using computers and drag&drop programming. In this module robots are pre-built and are ready to be programming for various tasks. Some example projects are Mars Rover and Robo-Restaurant where students learn to program robots to tackle real-world challenges. A Sumo Competition gives students an opportunity to program a robot and challenge other students.
Module 3: Introduction to Electronics and 3D Printing
The last module is 16 weeks and gives students the tools to create a 3D design using CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting) and build it using 3D printers in order to get familiar with making parts which is essential in Robot design. They will also learn circuit design to be able to see how electronics are used to transfer power and data between the brain, sensors and motors of a robot.
What is next?
After successful completion of all modules, students are eligible to start the Exceeders 9 curriculum which takes students through a fundamental coding, electronics and design modules enabling them to create robots from scratch using CAD, add Micro-Controllers and connect motors and sensors using circuits, and code them in C language to operate vast variety of tasks such as Bionic Arms, Smart Homes, Rovers…etc. Click here to see Exceeders 9 curriculum page
A reason to learn Math and Sciences
Robotics uses Numbers, Geometry, Physics and Logic. Many times students are told to learn concepts without really understanding why they are learning them. As an example, fractions do not really have much use for an 8-year-old, or kids that age do not generally need to use multiplication on a day-to-day basis. Robotics, on the other hand, uses numbers and fractions. As an example, if the wheel of a robot turns 5 turns, and 5 turns is not far enough, students typically change to 6 turns. But what if 6 turns is too much? We now hove to use perhaps 5.2 rotations. Since kids want to complete their projects, they opt in to learn the concepts and use them which gives them a visual meaning of numbers.
Enable them to use their power of imagination
Kids in the ages of 7-9 love to imagine. They can build you a spaceship and have all the answers on how it will fly to the moon. We use their imagination and add logic to it. As an example, we ask them to build a simple crane. We then ask them how the crane is supposed to stop when the load is up? Use a sensor that detects the load at the top. The encouragement to see their projects functional is their drive to want to learn the concepts to do it.
Discover their hidden STEM interest and nourish it
Some kids show early signs of interest in Science by asking many related questions, some don’t. Our experience shows the earlier kids are placed in a program that tickles their curiosity, the more interested they become in it. Our job as educators is to give the kids challenges that interest them, then help them plan a solution, let them comfortably try methods they think would work, encourage them when they fail to try a different solution and cheer them on the successful completion of the challenge. Most often when kids believe they are good at something, they will pursue it and it becomes part of their life. The earlier they start before other hobbies (such as gaming) becomes their main interest, the easier it is to create the long-term interest.
Make them a decision maker
Most kids are either afraid of problems or look for an easy way out of them. The first reaction is usually to give up and do something else. Fortunately, Robotics has a component called Programming which uses logic to create a path to the goal. The logic gives students an indirect path to think of a solution. Think of it as a given set of tools that can be used to do the job. The art is to select the right tools in the right order for an easier way of completing the job. When logic and CAD design are combined, students use imagination to create a robot and logic to get the robot to accomplish a task. During this journey, they are encountered with numerous problems and are guided to solve them. Sometimes they get frustrated and emotional, but that all is ok since that means they care. Going through such exercises are like a 101 workshop in problem-solving making them fearless of tackling the unknowns.
Engineering For Kids Complements Conventional Classroom Learning