Robots that Teach Math and Science Skills to Elementary School Students

Robots that Teach Math and Science Skills to Elementary School Students

America has always been a nation capable of competing on an international level when it comes to the economy, military, and average household income. But one area the US has particularly struggled with is matching other nation’s education as shown in testing scores, especially in mathematics and other STEM fields.

In fact, in a test administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to assess math skills among young people and adults in the most developed countries of the world, out of 24 participating countries, including France, Germany, and Japan, the United States performed better than only two other countries. Surely we have ways to go.

While careers requiring a background in mathematics continue to soar, American companies are fighting to fill those spots with adequate candidates. Despite incentivizing potential employees in mathematics-related career paths, these positions are notoriously hard to fill.

There are many factors contributing to low math scores, but one sure factor outdated and oftentimes dry textbook material. This can make it hard for many students to see the link between what they learn in the classroom and how that transfers to the real world.

Students learn in different ways. Some students are auditory learners and perform well in a traditional classroom setting based on a teacher’s lecture. Other students learn better by reading on a new topic, then digesting new information.

However, the majority of learners are kinesthetic learners, meaning they need to do in order to learn. Especially when it comes to mathematics, which sometimes presents abstract concepts, teachers are always searching for real-life examples that will help solidify tricky new lessons.

Robots that teach mathematics and science gives students a problem to solve and requires them to try out theories until they come across a testable solution. It’s mathematics in play, even if students don’t realize it immediately.

Robots that teach can give students the push they need to delve into unfamiliar territory and ultimately discover a new passion that could lead to future academic and career pursuits.

Math in the Day-to-Day

Ever heard your students say about a math lesson plan, But when am I ever going to use this in real life?

Lots of students, both primary and secondary, battle with the misconception that lessons learned in mathematics won’t benefit them later on in life.

Just the contrary, we use mathematics regularly throughout the day—whether it’s figuring a tip amount, or creating a blueprint for a new house, or planning the budget for a summer vacation.

And yet, while the average person may use basic multiplication, division, percentages, and ratios more often in their daily lives than square roots and long-form division, all math lessons provide students problem-solving scenarios that will serve them well across a multitude of future career paths.

 

Math & Robots

So where exactly do math and robots converge?

When designing their robot, students will have to consider factors like height, weight, and balance, for example. Essentially students are working with physics concepts that meet the spheres of science and mathematics perfectly in the middle.

Since students are working in robotics teams, they’ll build on each other’s reasoning and problem-solving skills to determine how light-weight their robot must be to move freely, how long should limbs extend before they collapse,  Or what kind of batteries should be used to correctly power the robot’s lighting system.

Oftentimes, in a traditional classroom setting, children are taught that math is about finding one right answer. For students who struggle in math, this can seem daunting and even overwhelming. But when students are reintroduced to robots that teach math and science, they’ll begin to understand that there are many paths to arrive at a single goal or that the endpoint may, in fact, be in a different place than originally expected.

Robotics gives students the freedom to create, without the pressure of being wrong.

Attracting a Diverse Group of Students

Though math scores throughout the country waver, this is especially true amongst minority groups and among young girls.

At first glance, these types of students might not perform to their full capabilities in a math setting because they simply have not seen examples of people who look like them in the field. Promisingly, this is starting to change.

One of the key factors in getting students interested in math, especially those who already have a notion that math is not for them, is to widen their view of what math is, and what it can do.

By presenting math concepts through robots that teach, primarily that of reasoning and problem solving, students can uncover where some of their hidden talents lay.

Better yet, they may, for the first time, consider a future in mathematics or in other STEM-related fields.

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A Future in Mathematics

When students grow their love of mathematics, they change the possibilities that their future holds. The world of mathematics is extremely diverse and offers a wide range of future pursuits.

Whereas in other professions, students pursue a major at the university level with hopes that it will lead to a career in a related field. Students who choose to study mathematics have a surer chance of finding work closely related to their studies. With US university costs at an all time high, choosing an area with clear-cut career prospects is important for many students.

Potential areas of study related to students interested in math include software engineering, accounting, education, architecture and design, and market and survey researchers.

In subsequent years, students can take these passions to the next level by pursuing careers as math teachers, engineers, landscapers, accountant, computer programmers, and data analysts.

Math can seem daunting to many young people at first glance, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. When students are given the skills to build, create, test, and succeed they’re more likely to get hooked on an area of study they never thought possible.

Whether students participate in a single robotics workshop, or if they choose to make it a regular hobby, getting involved at a young age means they can imagine what a future in mathematics might look like in 5, 10, or 15 years.

Ultimately, robots that teach provides students with the self-confidence to succeed in whatever they put their mind to, wherever that path may lead.