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Mention robotics and my 40+ year old mind goes to Rosie The Robot, the Jetsons’s housekeeper. I used to love that cartoon. My young mind could just imagine the automated life of the future with robots doing all my chores.
Fast forward to 2017. Where is Rosie? She hasn’t shown up in my house yet. While we might not be interacting with our robotic housekeeper on a daily basis, robots do play a huge part in our modern way of life.
How Are Robots Used Today
We might not have Rosie The Robot, but we do use robots in our homes. Roomba vacuum cleaners are robots that vacuum our floors for us, and there are robots that will clean our swimming pools, as well.
Robots have been used for years in manufacturing performing monotonous jobs that may be boring or too repetitive for humans like tightening screws, welding, or painting. They can, also, do manufacturing jobs that require incredible precision like creating very small computer components.
There are some jobs that are just too dangerous for humans These might be bomb detection, exploring dangerous environments like inside of volcanoes, or jobs in outer space. Robots are used in these situations.
The medical field uses robots for surgical procedures and pharmaceutical preparations that require precise movements and measurements. Robots aid in patient rehabilitation, and are used in some types of prosthetic limbs.
Robots are becoming more and more useful to humans. As our technologically driven society develops, so will the need for more and varying types of robots.
How To Prepare For A Career In Robotics
Robotics combines mechanical and electrical engineering, with coding, design, and other disciplines. It takes all these components to design and build robots. As the need for robots increases, the need for people to create them will, also. Looking to the future is always good when choosing a career. Go where the jobs will be.
We have seen the push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education. This push is to prepare students for the high tech world and job market they will be entering. As homeschool parents, we can assure that our children get the type of education that they need. Search for quality math, science, and technology curriculum. Then, use the ones that appeal to your child’s learning style, personality, and interest. That’s the beauty of homeschool. We can adapt everything to each child!
Here are math and science curriculum options that have worked well for us:
- Elementary Math: Singapore Math
- High School Math: Teaching Textbooks
- Elementary Science: Nancy Larson Science
- High School Science: Apologia, BJU Press
Once a student has a solid background in STEM, the opportunities are endless. They can choose go into areas that design, build, or program robots. All are necessary.
4 Recommended Ways to Gain Robotics Experience
My children really enjoy STEM subjects and ways to put their knowledge to use in hands-on ways. Robotics fits their interests perfectly! Of all the robotics related resources we have used, these are the ones that my children have enjoyed the most.
1. EEME: Kits
This is a kit based resource that teaches the basics of electronics. Each month, EEME sends a box containing a hands-on electronics project kit that links to a web-based curriculum. Each successive kit builds one skills learned from the kit before. One of the boxes contains Q The Robot. Q is a simple robot that students can build themselves. Additional kits allow students to add components, plus learn to code.
2. Innovator’s Tribe: Online Course
Innovator’s Tribe offers a self-paced, online course for Robotics & Automation. The 30 hours of instruction (about one quarter of a school year) teach middle schoolers how to design, build and program a robot. It includes a 3D programming software you can use indefinitely even after your 24-month course access expires. The course also allows for unlimited use among all your children, so there’s no need to buy multiple licenses for more than one child. This is a great introduction to robotics.
3. Bitsbox: Subscription Box
If coding scares you or you think your kids are too young to learn to code, Bitsbox is for you. Bitsbox is a subscription based box program that sends children a themed kit with TONS of simple coding resources that allow kids to create, code, and modify their very own apps and games within minutes! Your kids will be coding in no time and have fun doing it.
4. FIRST Robotics: In-person Teams
My high school daughter is in her second year as a member of a local FIRST Robotics team. FIRST is a set of mentor-based programs from K through 12 that seeks to inspire future leaders in STEM careers through robotics. My daughter has learned to much through this program. She is applying what she has learned in her studies, plus learning new skills. Most of all, she is excited about it. Find a FIRST program near you.
Have you thought of using robotics to interest your children in STEM subjects and careers? What resources have you used?