The Virtual Robotics Curriculum is designed to introduce robotics to children ages 9 to 15 years old using motors & sensors, programmed using a user-friendly graphical simulation software installed on Windows-based computers. The curriculum is designed for age groups of 9-11 and 12-15 years old
9-11 Years Old
Begins with using simulated robotics software which can be programmed using drag&drop application to learn the logic of programming first. Students see the result of their program in the simulation right away which helps them go back and make changes to achieve desired results. The curriculum evolves by introducing code-based programs which can again be tested on simulated robots. Concepts are taught using actual projects such as Strawberry sorting and fork-lift robots. Continuing courses teach students Mechanics and CAD software as well as Electronics and Microcontrollers. Throughout the curriculum, students will learn foundations of robotics by means of programming, electronics, mechanics and Microcontrollers.
12-15 Years Old
The curriculum begins with C language coding of robots and testing using simulation software. Students get a chance to program the robot and see the result right away. They will then move on to Mechanics courses in which they learn CAD software which is used to design parts in the industry. Finally, they are introduced to Electronics and Arduino Microcontrollers which can be programmed using simulation software or the physical hardware. The courses are designed to challenge student’s problem-solving skills, as well as providing them an insight into STEM courses to let them make a better decision in their career.
- No prior experience needed
- Live instructor who will teach and help students practice topics
- Modules in Programming, Mechanics and Microcontrollers
- 8 kids maximum per virtual class
- Twice per week classes
There are a total of 4 modules for ages 9-11 and a total of 3 modules for ages 12-15. Each module is 8 weeks in duration.
Module 1: Programming Logic (Ages 9-11 only)
The first module is the programming logic where students learn the structure of a robot program. During the first module, use the simulation software where they are shown how to program a fully functioning robot by using their motors and sensors to accomplish tasks. Students are given projects such as maze follower and strawberry sorter and are taught loops and conditional statements with lots of practice.
Module 2: Advanced Coding (Starting Module for Ages 12-15)
This module is the first module for students in age group of 12-15 and the second module for students in age group 9-11. The module introduces students to coding and syntax. Since students have now learnt programming logic (9-11), they are ready to combine it with text to create more complex program. Students are again given fully functioning robots in the simulation software and are required to use coding to accomplish projects such as smart factory and radio-controlled robots. Concepts of variables and functions are covered within this module.
Module 3: CAD Design and Mechanics
This module introduces students to CAD design and Mechanics. Int his module, students are shown how to use computers and CAD (Computer-Aided Drafting) software to create parts of a robots. They will also learn dimensioning and tolerancing which are absolute necessity to fit parts. At the end of this module students are able to design parts their parts using CAD software and understand basic Mechanical concepts such as lever and gears.
Module 4: Microcontrollers
This module is the most advanced coding and electronics module in the curriculum. It teaches students how to use Microcontrollers which act as programmable brain for any given robot. Numerous sensors and motors can be controlled using Microcontrollers to create autonomous robots. Concepts such as Input/Output, Digital/Analog, Voltages, Circuits, Resistors are introduced in this module. By the end of this modules students are ready to design, create and code many robots. A virtual software is provided to students that simulated the actual microcontroller in C language. Students also have the option to get an Arduino Kit and program a physical microcontroller.
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.