At MakerKids, one of the areas we teach and focus on is robotics. As kids get introduced to it, they begin to realize how important it is and how it is all around them. One of the technologies we use to teach robotics is Arduino. Many kids are unfamiliar with it at first. But, when they start learning about all of the cool things it can do, they can’t wait to use it. Let’s take a look at what Arduino is and why it’s important in robotics.
What is Arduino?
Simply put, Arduino is a micro-controller. This small computer is used as the brain of the robot. It can be programmed to control the way buttons, motors, switches, lights, and other electronic parts work together. Arduino is hands-on, which is one of the many reasons it’s appealing to kids. It can be plugged into your computer. You can write a program on the computer and send it to the Arduino.
When kids start to use Arduino, they quickly learn that robotics is all around us. While it’s interesting to learn about electronics and how they work, it’s even better when you get to try it for yourself. When kids use Arduino at MakerKids, they get to build their own projects. They get to see what works and what doesn’t work and how to problem-solve in the process.
What are Popular Projects Using Arduino?
One of the most popular projects using Arduino is the rover. Kids not only get to put their robot together and learn about electronics, but they also get to program their robot and make it dance any way they’d like.
Kids at MakerKids have also made more complex robots, such as motion-sensing alarms, plush toys that speak, automatic plant feeders, and much more. Another project involving Arduino at MakerKids is using a motor to create an alarm clock. When it senses motion it starts moving and the motion near your bed may wake you up. Another student made a dog feeder controlled by the internet. When you use your imagination with Arduino, the sky’s the limit.
Why is Arduino Important?
Arduino is important because it is used in many everyday applications. Many children and adults don’t realize that the Arduino is behind many things that are used daily. Businesses that use Square, a device that can be plugged into smartphones to accept payments with credit cards, may not realize that it is made possible by Arduino. The Pebble watch falls into the same category. For both of these products, the initial prototype was built with Arduino.
As kids start using Arduino and realizing that there are inventions that can be made to solve real problems, they become even more interested.
Why is Robotics an Important Part of a Child’s Education?
Robotics is an important part of a child’s education because it fosters creativity and problem-solving. When working in a robotics program, using Arduino and other technology, kids need to learn to be creative. They also need to learn how to fix problems that can arise as they’re creating new inventions. These are skills that can be used in the real world.
Speaking of the real world, learning robotics helps kids be better prepared for what’s on the horizon. Jobs involving programming and coding are increasing rapidly. Programming jobs are growing 50 percent faster than jobs in other markets. It’s also estimated that IT jobs will continue to grow by a rate of 22% by the year 2020.
For kids to be competitive in the job market of the future, they need to learn the necessary computer skills. Learning robotics and using Arduino are just two ways to do this. Being involved in all STEM topics can help kids become well-rounded individuals who can contribute to the society of the future.