STEM workshops for 4 to 6-year-olds

Maybe you think your child is too young for the more advanced robot building and computer programming classes? Or maybe you think you might have a little Tech Genius on your hands but you want to test the waters a bit? Maybe you are just trying to feed your child's growing mind and don't know where to begin? Well, the Rolling Robots Bots for Tots series was designed with you and your child in mind.

By working closely with young Tech Geniuses under the age of 5, we have created a series of workshop-based classes suited to that age group to get your child started off right. Here, 4 to 5-year-olds can start learning STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math concepts matched perfectly to their age level.

Bots for tots 4-6yrold

The workshops are designed to be a fun way to teach children mechanical, electrical, and engineering concepts, as well as develop their fine motor skills and creative thinking!

Our curriculum is based off extensive research we've done with the younger groups of kids at Rolling Robots. Workshops focus on hands-on projects proven to convey basic engineering concepts to children in an entertaining and engaging manner. The activities will expose your child to the world of math and science in a way that will be both constructive and rewarding. The program teaches practical skills that your child will use immediately while helping them build a strong foundation in engineering concepts which they can use to further learn and grow.

Some of the things your child will learn are:

  • Shapes, colors and pattern recognition
  • Basic engineering tools and building
  • The principles of motion
  • Measurement, including how to use a ruler
  • Sequencing and the ordering of objects
  • Basic mathematics
  • Fine motor skills
  • Coordination and visual dexterity
  • Sharing, teamwork, planning, and problem solving
  • The engineering design process
  • And even some basic coding!

Some of the classes are based on projects with readily available items such as building bridges with soda straws and towers with marshmallows. Other classes are based on some of the more interesting Children's toys and games we sell at Rolling Robots.

bots 4 tots products

Counting with Clics

We use Clics to teach counting and measurements. With these colorful, easy-to-assemble blocks, we build rectangular cars that teach kids the concepts of length, width, and height, and how they fundamentally describe a three-dimensional object.

clic1

Q-Bitz: Patterning

Young children can begin learning the concept of patterns quickly with the help of the game Q-Bitz. We start by exposing the students to simple patterns consisting of colors, shapes, and even sounds, including some musical games. Recognizing and using patterns is essential to future mastery of engineering, computer science, and even music! The Q-Bitz game requires students to look at a pattern on a card and then recreate it using blocks that each have a part of the pattern on one of their six sides. In addition to teaching patterns, the children need to recognize 3D shapes and improve their fine motor skills by correctly placing the small blocks. One example is shown below.

Qbitz3

Programming with Robot Turtles

Robot Turtles is a board game for your 3 to 8-year-old and their friends. In addition to being way fun, it also "sneakily teaches the fundamentals of programming," says Dan Shapiro, the inventor of the Robot Turtles game. As a programmer and father to some inquisitive kids of his own, Dan often wondered: How old does a child need to be to start learning how to program? Do they even need to be able to read first? Working with his 4-year-old twins he invented this fascinating game that we use in our workshops when instructing young kids in the art of basic programming. The game is played by moving the Robot Turtles by using action cards that imitate the basic structure of logic and commands integral to all advanced programming languages. Our 4-6 year-olds have great fun with the turtles and don't even realize they are exercising their brains with logical thinking exercises and are actually learning to approach and solve problems in the same way a programmer would!

game board

Preparation for Fun with Technology

Through the Bots for Tots series we are preparing our students for the next levels of their STEM learning, which is our Fun with Technology series designed for 6 and 7-year-olds. When they get to the concepts of electrical circuits, schematic diagrams, and programming using Scratch, they will have a foundation of solid STEM concepts to build upon in the future.

Have a look at a sample of our Bots for Tots classes here: Bots for Tots. Then, please look at our other workshops as well. Your child can drop in for a single class, signup for a month, or become a member at our Membership page.

Hope to see you in class soon!

School has been out for over a month now and you may wonder what our VEX Robotics teams have been up to. Well, they are surely not taking the summer off, they have been hard at work preparing for the Skyrise International Summer Games. After competing in the VEX Robotics World Championship in April they were invited to attend the VEX Robotics Competition International Summer Games in Honolulu, Hawaii. The games start this week and it is the first official event of the new season.

The VEX Robotics Competition Skyrise game is the competition for the 2014 / 2015 season that open to middle school and high school students (ages 11-18). The game is played on a 12 ft x 12 ft field and requires robots to move game objects into or onto goals. The one-page description of the game and scoring is here:

VEX Skyrise - One-Page

VEX skyrise robotics competition field

The playing field starts with the game objects set-up in known positions. In our practice matches we are using just one quarter of the field. The object is to move game objects, cubes of your color and the yellow skyrise sections into scoring positions.

Here is a look at the robot from Rolling Robots Team 7700B scoring points.

There is a robot size limit of 18x18x18 inches at the start of the match, but the robot can grow larger once the clock starts as shown here by the robot from Rolling Robots Team 7700A. It looks like soon the robot may be taller than the robot builders.

VEX skyrise scissor lift

A scissor lift is used to raise the game object to the scoring position. Here is a stack of 4 Skyrise sections worth 16 points.

VEX skyrise section stacking

The next goal is to collect the cubes and stack them on scoring poles. Each stacked cube is worth 2 points on a scoring pole and 4 points on the yellow Skyrise pole.

VEX skyrise cube scoring

The first competition for the new 2014/2015 Sesson is :

International VEX Summer Games, July 10 - 12, 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii.
VEX International Summer Games

The "away" team is already in Hawaii getting ready to compete over the next few days. You can get the up-to-date results by following @RollingRobots on twitter or at "Results" tab on the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation's website: International VEX Summer Games - Skyrise Division You can even enjoy the matches live at "Webcast" tab.

The Webcast is here:

International VEX Summer Games WEBcast, July 10 - 12, 2014, Honolulu, Hawaii.

News coverage from the event is below. Watch carefully near the end and you will see our team member Alex piloting the Toss Up robot in competition.

moonbots team

The Rolling Robots PV team was selected as a finalist in the MOONBOTS, Google Lunar XPRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge. The team was selected in the top 25 of 299 entries. Their challenge now is to create a game using the LEGO EV3 kit and demonstrate it by August 1. A nice summer project for these young roboteers.

We will be posting more info and results as the project progresses but for now check out their video entry.

Here is their Phase II video submission for the STEM Outreach Project:

View Updates and Details here: MOONBOTS, Google Lunar XPRIZE LEGO MINDSTORMS Challenge.

Winners Announced

• Grand Prize Winner: Team Incredibots (Columbus, Ohio) • First Runner-Up: Team Dalton BRobots (Barcelona, Spain) • Second Runner-Up: Team Dutch Delta (Rotterdam, Netherlands) • Third Runner-Up: Team Starling (Balwin, Mo.) • Third Runner-Up: Team Electric Dreams (Erie, Pa.)

Check out the STEM outreach video of the Grand Prize Winner ..

Go Incredibots you truly are Incredible moon masters!