How a robotics competition increases learning

You might have heard of competitive robotics. And yes, this might be a nice follow-up to that after-school robotics class your child took. Here, teams of students design and build devices to accomplish a specific task, pitting their creations against others to do things like scale a wall, topple an opponent robot or move the robot through a timed obstacle course.

Now, it is one thing to design and build a robot. But it’s another thing entirely when your child joins other kids to design a robot to solve a specific problem and test it out against other creations. You can see how their drive and interest just kick into gear. What are some of the other benefits of competition?

They have to solve a problem on a deadline
Using a book filled with complex rules to build a device on a tight deadline forces the kids on the team to conceive and test solutions to get that robot up and running. Even if complex concepts are not clear in the beginning, working with them from start to finish, testing new solutions along the way is clarifying. They’ll also learn from applying complex processes quickly, without being hung up or delayed, or spending too much time fussing and fixing.

They get exposed to new solutions
When working on a team to build a robot, your child will hear other solutions from other kids. In this case, your child has a lot to learn from their peers. New solutions and ideas will feed your child’s mind, and, hopefully, these ideas will inspire some of their own. In any case, your child gains new practical knowledge and concepts. Later on, when the robot is in the ring, everyone on the team will be intensely interested in how it’s doing. Better yet, they will be eager to see what the competition has come up with. Encourage them to talk about these with a few open-ended questions. These hands-on applications will make for sticky learning.

It puts abstract concepts into practice
In addition to all that creativity and problem solving, students will also have to apply math and technology concepts to guide a robot through a space. Dimension, velocity, volume and weight are just some of the things they’ll have to take into account to design a robot that accomplishes its task. When used in real life, these abstract concepts will start to click. This understanding could feed their mastery in the classroom, which could make your child more confident and engaged in school.

Building robots with other kids to compete with other students is one positive and engaging experience that can build your child’s confidence and mastery of STEM concepts. Is your child new to robotics? To get started, visit www.Bricks4Kidz.com to learn more about Jr. Robotics classes geared for children 5–9 years of age and Mindstorm® EV3 advanced robotics classes geared for students 9 and above.

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