WeGoSTEM is an initiative that gives pupils of the 5th and 6th grade the chance to discover their talent for science and technology in a creative way. Each year WeGoSTEM wants to reach thousands of children and make them enthusiastic about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Just like last year NVISO employees volunteered and spent a day learning the children how to build a drawing robot.
Each day typically consisted of two sessions at the same school. The first part of the session was a group session in which the children could indicate which types of robots they already know (industrial, humanoid, elderly care, home assistant, …) and which most impressed them (Pepper, Atlas or the dancing Spot).
After this introduction a pupil was volunteered to program the class as a human robot by instructing his/her classmates how to make a (simple) drawing. The children quickly appreciated that this is non-trivial and it is important to give clear and concise instructions to the robot.
Then came the fun part of the session: building the drawing robot, this was definitely the part they liked most! In groups of two, the children were able to quickly build their robot and program it via a graphical programming environment. Very enthusiastically the pupils explored how to write text on an LCD display (11-12 year olds have a pretty explicit vocabulary 🙂 ), interacting with the input/outputs (push buttons, generate sounds) and instruct the robot to make nice drawings.
As volunteer it was heartwarming to see the kids so engaged (some just continued during their lunch break!) and each make a drawing to take home. Also the respect for the teachers grew drastically; we saw that a class of 20+ children can be very vivid.
We are glad we could help in making WeGoSTEM again a success this year and bring these children a nice day and spark interest in STEM. Hopefully we will see some of them pursue this type of activities during their free time (at CoderDojo or CyberSkool).
Daan and Kris