Robotics: What is it and how do I get started?
4-H has developed comprehensive robotics programs that inspire young people and help them develop an early interest in engineering and technology.
March 5, 2013 - Author: Jan Brinn, Michigan State University Extension
Did you know that youth could be engaging in robotics? 4-H has developed comprehensive robotics program that inspires young people and helps them develop an early interest in engineering and technology. This new project area is part of 4-H’s One Million New Ideas campaign, to engage one million new young people in science by the year 2013 and to address a declining trend in our nation’s science, engineer, mathematics and technology workforce.
Can you think of other reasons for youth robotics programs? Does experiential learning and hands on learning provide benefits? Research says it does. There is current research being conducted in the possibility of improved math scores in school due to robotic programs like FIRST Robotics. How about sparking a future career goal? Some other reasons why a LEGO robotics program would be beneficial include:
- Integrates many content areas, such as computer science, technology, engineering and mathematics
- LEGO’s are familiar to youth
- Durable and reusable
- Relative low-cost
- Programming language works on Mac’s and PC’s
- Widely available
According to 4-H Youth Science, studies show that American students are not taking enough interest in engineering and technology to maintain our country's ability to lead innovation in the future. 4-H hopes to reverse that trend through its engaging programs in filmmaking and robotics. Robotics programs not only engage young people and adult mentors, but they also provide an opportunity for local 4-H Robotics club members to interact with engineering experts in their communities. The curriculum offered teaches young people how to design fundamentals by challenging them to think creatively and critically as they build their own robots to solve an engaging set of problems.
Michigan State University Extension offers 4-H Robotics through 4-H clubs, camps, school enrichment and after-school programs nationwide. Young people will engage in service learning and community service projects, develop leadership and citizenship skills and develop numerous life skills taught in 4-H clubs nationwide.