Robotics in STEAM education induces multi-sensory learning for a child’s holistic development

>>Human beings have higher neural plasticity when they are children than in any other stages of their age-lives


By Mr. Amit Verma, (Director and CEO, Makebot)


In the current scheme of things while AI and Robotics have become the buzz word, our understanding of these paradigms are extremely superficial. They are narrowed to either driver-less cars or algorithm fueled stock market picks or ease of navigation during our morning commute. For as important these innovations are in our fast paced daily lives, they pale in comparison to the benefits that robotic technologies will have on human capital as it heralds in a new era in our education system for the future generation particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM).

Multi-sensory learning for the young

Human beings have higher neural plasticity when they are children than in any other stages of their age-lives. A child’s mind is therefore, inquisitive, agile and thirsting for new experiences. Children use many senses as possible to increase the absorption of information, digesting these information and equipping themselves at the end with these to get empowered. While introducing STEAM oriented curriculum early in a child’s development will pay dividends for the rest of their lives in a dynamic future, a multi-sensory approach to learning that compliments or aides the young learners’ natural process of discovery will only amplify their absorption of information and kindle the desires to learn and grow more. Therefore the more senses involved, the more easily it is understood.

Robotics in STEAM Education

Robotics and its allied technologies – including artificial intelligence, coding and a variety of others – into early STEAM education plays a vital role in early education in both direct and subtle ways. Robotics create a multi-sensory, experience that significantly increases a child’s capacity to learn and imbibe. The technology is all encompassing and specifically aligned to the natural instincts to feel, hear, see and experience. STEAM education introduces human capital to a technology that will be the economic pillar of the future as Robotics is fast gaining recognition & utilization in every facet of commerce, redefining supply chains and how humans consume & behave. An early introduction to robotics therefore, will have an enduring & positive impact on a child, giving them a distinct advantage in all facets of life.

Innovation in elementary to artistic expression

Art, much like technology, is built on imaginative and original or novel thought processes. It doesn’t matter whether it takes the form of the final expression as music, dance, painting, poetry or prose. An open source platform that gives instruction to a robot is actually a blank canvas for creative thoughts & inspiration. Here the child can paint with binary codes and see the results! Furthermore, a broader scope of sensation through multi-sensory learning only activates ingenuity & non-linear thinking, both of which are crucial to artistic revealations.

An example of BOT-STEAM Lesson to illustrate

Topic: Assembly of robot

Objective: To Develop the ability to understand and identify the process of assembly of robot correlating it to concepts of STEAM

How Science?

The Skeletal System

  • While assembling the bot, each and every part of the body is correlated to the skeletal system of our human body. The fasteners being the joints, the chassis being the torso and the wheels being the limbs.

Machines & dynamics of a machine

  • While assembling the bot the teacher shows screws and screw driver and explains how they are simple machines
  • The teacher explains clearly about the two faces of the screw driver and when and how it is used
  • The teacher gives examples of the other simple machines like lever, wedge, inclined plane, pulley, wheel and axle and screw being the sixth simple machine

Electricity and its Flow

  • How electricity flows and in what direction? The teacher discusses about the flow of Current/ electricity when showing DC motors( Direct Current motors)
  • The teacher also discusses about why DC motors are used in the bot as it is safe and the power it has is adequate for robot to move.
  • The teacher will also introduce the concept of conservation of energy when teaching about DC motors where electrical energy is changed to mechanical energy that helps in motion.

Force and Motion

  • While discussing about DC Motors, the teacher talks about how the motor helps in motion (linear motion) when force is applied. In DC motors the force is the power of the motors.

Correlation with Friction

  • The shape of castor wheel is correlated to the concept of friction and surface area exposed.
  • The type of wheels used also relates to the concept of friction.

All these also help in understanding our physiology & anatomy and how our biological body works, acts & reacts.

How Technology?

While assembling the bot, the teacher explains about the mother board, the sensors, the programming language used, how to upload programs both in live and upload modes.

How Engineering?

Engineering skills are used by the students while fixing, attaching, aligning the components during the assembly process of the bot.

How Art?

The design of the bot – the creativity of the student is showcased during the assembly process.

How Mathematics?

Mathematics plays a key role during the assembly. Measurements, alignment, weight management, specifications and configurations are all applied in the process of assembling the bot.

Conclusion

STEAM education focuses on preparation for a technologically-driven future while also harnessing a child’s natural curiosities to experience life in as many ways as possible. From coding to kinesiology, engineering to imagination, robotics provides children an irreplaceable head-start on life that will forever be a source of stability, success, and intrigue.

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