"STEM" is an important educational topic sweeping through homes and schools across the world. STEM is an acronym representing the huge push to teach and involve students in science, technology, engineering, and math. Due to struggling test scores and low enthusiasm in many schools, both parents and teachers are striving to find new and better ways to create greater interest in these critical learning topics. These classroom subjects give our children the keys to a booming future in one of these science-driven fields. Although there are many ways to help encourage a STEM education, robotics education programs are allowing children as young as 6 to learn valuable problem-solving STEM skills.
The Benefits of Robotics Education
Whether organized through a private program or founded within your child's school, learning robotic skills is a life-long investment. These skills easily bleed into other STEM fields such as math and science and allow your child to grow a genuine interest in how the world works. Although these programs teach valuable skills and knowledge, children and teenagers easily become so caught up in the creativity and excitement, they don't even realize how much they are learning. Both parents and teachers will notice the strong benefits; many students experience dramatic grade improvements.
Discovering a new passion
Some students are unconsciously scared of subjects such as math or science. They may hear their friends complaining of hard tests or tricky concepts. Robotics clubs and education help show students that, although challenging, math and engineering skills are not scary. By giving students a fun, creative way to express common math and science principles, these daunting classroom subjects become much more welcoming. It's much easier to appreciate science when it's helping to power your robot!
Many robotic education programs use team clubs and challenges to help build camaraderie and promote excitement. These clubs sometimes host "robot wars" or team problem-solving challenges. Whether helping to create the perfect "battle bot" or working to find the answer to a tricky dilemma, your child will gain valuable team spirit. By learning to work with fellow students, communication and social skills gain a powerful boost.
Coding and Technological Communication
Computer coding and other tech-savvy communication skills are the foundations of a valuable robotics education. In a growing technologically advanced world, the skills your child learns at their robotics club give them a strong advantage in any computer-driven field. Although coding seems like a strange, foreign language, many fun, state-of-the-art programs simplify this new language into manageable, practical lessons for any child regardless of age or experience.
By starting children in robotics programs at a young age, they will possess noticeable self-confidence in future math and science classes. Rather than growing to dread new STEM-based classes, children involved with robotics often look forward to these new opportunities. Some see these classes as extensions of their robotics clubs and activities. Self-confidence gained in elementary and high school stays with your child their whole life. This positive attitude will be a powerful stepping-stone into their college career.
Although some students struggle to stay out of mischief during and after school hours, a robotics program gives your child a safe and enjoyable activity to keep their attention. Staying active in a robotics club helps them feel productive while also keeping negative influences out of their sphere of contact. A robotics club isn't meant to be "empty" time or meaningless. Although the activities are designed to be fun, subliminal educational messages are still being encouraged.
Enrolling Your Child in a Robotics Program
Unfortunately, due to budget and leadership constraints, not every public school has the ability to start a robotics program. Some schools offer robotics education as a small elective or optional AP class. This poor availability isn't fair for students. As a parent, it is frustrating to find the proper STEM tools for your child. Although schools make a valiant effort, finding the best STEM education is often a parent's choice.
Consult your child's school and check whether it possesses an active robotics club. If the school does provide robotics education, check the quality and accessibility. Some robotics clubs may not offer the proper skills and education you wish for your child. Method Schools includes robotics as part of its core curriculum. Some important aspects to consider include:
- Who the program is available to?
- How often does the program meet?
- Who leads the program and what credentials do they have?
- What type of resources does the program use?
- How many students are part of the program?
- What activities do they have?
- What do other parents think of the program?
If you are not convinced your child's current school is offering a good program, consider looking elsewhere for resources. A growing number of private robotics clubs are available in many states. Programs such as "Robotics," "First," and "Stemfinity" are several great independent sources.
If you are considering having your child switch schools, be sure to check potential schools for their robotics programs. Schools that push STEM-based learning environments prepare students for their future. Look for schools that prioritize the math, science, and problem-solving skills within their students. Many of the best STEM-based programs are found within private charter schools and blended learning environments. Take time to personally speak with school leadership and look into how other parents feel about the school's atmosphere and effectiveness.
Talk with your child and find out their current interest in STEM activities. If they struggle with math and science, they may not feel very positive about these subjects. This is understandable. However, enrolling them in a school with a strong robotics program is key to helping them not only master STEM subjects but come to enjoy them as well.
Note: Method Schools includes robotics for students who attend via the Synergy track. Students who are enrolled in this track get a minimum of one hour per day in The Foundry.