Project Orientation in Robotics
It seems that having a curriculum that is "Project Based" is an in thing these days. And for many situations it is a great tool to use.
This is the case with Robotics for children especially, because the entry into this area which is perfect for young children, is building things - out of Legos or some other simple construction technology. There is no shortage of kits for kids, reinforcing this point.
The difficulty with kits is managing the parts. If a child wants to build X and a part is missing, that can be a fairly catastrophic situation, in the worst case, and in the best case a replacement part is snitched from another kit, and some other child will be experiencing the same issue.
We have developed an approach to this which is integrated into our "project method". Basically, our method has the child doing the following steps:
- Decide on what to build and document that, by:
- drawing a picture or design it in CAD
- describing what the robot will be able to do after it is built
- Build the robot
- Program the robot
- Present the robot to the club
- Finish by disassembling the robot and returning the parts to their bins.
This approach gives us a great mechanism to deal with the overabundance of dinky parts; there is specific support during the programming portion of the project to write several different programs; presenting the robot to the club; and finally, dismantling the robot and returning the parts to their bins. This makes it relatively easy for an adult to check for a complete kit.