Robotics experience with children


#1

Hello,

I received a questioning in private for information on my experience with robotics and young children (5 and 8 years old). I found the question really relevant for the forum because I am sure that there are other people who will be able to share their experiences and help this person.

Personally, I have two daughters and I would have thought that robotics would have created more interest because I still have a lot of them. So I created really cool treasure hunts and activities that made me popular in my daughters’ school but without creating the interest I was looking for. Why, because my robots weren’t focused on their girlish interests.

Luckily, there was a contest several years ago from Makeblock with an mBot save the world theme or something like that. I introduced it to my youngest and she created her story with the mBot and her dolls. She speaks in French but you will notice that she learned her text in English for the competition for which she won a prize (it was just a paper diploma but she really liked it). She then practiced in another contest that she won 4 mBot expansion kits and then nothing, more creative goals and they grew.
mBot-Sarah

I believe that young people are really stimulated and if what is presented to them is not captivating then they move on to another activity. I participated for the first time in a Zone01 (LEGO) contest and there were hundreds of teenagers who wanted to succeed in the challenges.

My conclusion, Makeblock would have the ability to create interest around their products (contests and paper certificates) because they made it a few times for my daughter. Next year, she is entering a science and technology concentration in high school. Thanks Makeblock.

P.S. I will then answer the question therefore posed.


#2

Hello,

Your mBot 2 is a really great product and my daughter played with my mBot 1 when she was 8 years old. For 5 years I would have been with the Codey Rocky but the mBot 2 will last longer. And yes, you should probably lower your expectations because your child of 5 or 8 years old will not be able to code the mBot so that it acts with a lot of logic because at this age, it is maximum a few instructions for actions visible instantly.

I suggest you give them very simple challenges. Personally, I would have started by showing them the mBlock Blockly tablet app but I don’t think it works with mBot 2. I think if you have LEGO, the challenge of transferring a maze without touching the walls is probably a good challenge for their ages. However, you need to add interest to the child and enter into his world.

Example: Go through the maze without touching the wall to save your favorite doggie. I have lots of ideas to make the activity fun but I don’t have a mBot 2 so it will be more difficult to help you.
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Otherwise, I’m waiting for others’ suggestions :wink:


#3

Thank you for your feedback. The general question is how to keep child interest in that activity for longer than 15 minutes. Nowadays when kids have smartphones, complicated electronic toys, etc they are really difficult to focus on for a while and maybe they have problems with imagination as well. My 5 year old kid is ok to play with mBot and other robotic RC cars, I don’t expect much from him at this age but he is really encouraged by his older brother. My 8 year old kid is much more complicated. Simple projects with CyberPi and microbit are not very interesting for him because they do not have a valuable goal. Let’s stay voice recorder, online translator, step counter, line following car, balancing car and other basic projects don’t encourage him to do something more complicated and useful. But if we try something more complicated together he looses interest within 15 minutes especially when it needs some mathematics or complicated logic and we have to spend a lot of time for trial and errors. So now I’m building some complicated projects by myself and explain him what I did. Also I made some simple 2-player games for CyberPi so they can play with together. Actually he can do simple projects by himself without my help like program various routes for mBot with LEDs on and music playing, push the button and you will see dancing sprite on the screen and so on. Maybe it is just too early for him and I believe he will get into it soon. The competition or contest is a good idea but he doesn’t have any friend to compete or cooperate with. It would be great if Makeblock would do it online for various age groups -> well I found something on makex.cc


#4

Hi Forain,

I completely agree with you. I also made the same observation with my 2 daughters. Selling good products is one thing but if there are no elements to stimulate children to use them then they quickly lose interest.