are designed to spark the curiosity of students grades 7-8 who have not developed an inclination for science or math. Starting with student’s interest in pop culture, desire to help people or emerging technologies, we introduce the underlying science and math principles. This non-intimidating entry point broadens participation beyond those with a natural inclination for science and math programs.
Using a humanities first approach students are introduced to robotics. Over 10-12 weeks in an after-school setting, students use the design process to understand the daily challenges of people with disabilities. A substantial amount of course time is spent meeting people with disabilities and participating in exercises to develop an understanding of and empathy for the challenges that they face.
Students then define a relevant problem that they would like to take on, explore potential solutions and ultimately build and program robotic prototypes demonstrating their solutions. Problem solving is coupled with lessons and exercises to teach basic and advanced programming concepts and illustrate methods for applying robot kit sensors, actuators and mechanical components. We have found that approaching a complex STEM subject like robotics from a humanities perspective to be more inviting to girls along with those without a strong affinity to STEM.
In upcoming courses, we will continue building upon our work in assistive solutions with a focus on motor / physical disabilities. As inspiration, lessons will introduce advanced wheel chairs and exoskeleton systems that let paraplegic people elevate themselves to a standing height (either by lifting the chair or straightening/stabilizing their legs). To facilitate prototyping when standard robots kits do not provide suitable components to create the students’ designs, we will introduce 3D design and fabrication into students’ skill sets.
Skills Learned: Human Centered Design, Mechanics, Electronics, Computer Programming, 3D Modeling and more.
IFP ART, MUSIC, MOVIES & MAKING
Art, Music, Movies and Making introduces students grades to the world of digital fabrication. Students learn to dream, design and make (almost) anything with digital fabrication tools including 3D-printers, laser cutters and more. Students will create special collections based on their favorite artwork, music and movies.