In recent years, Lego robotics has taken the country by storm. In Arizona, top educators are applauding the rise of the robots that have brought engineering to children of all ages. Tracy Rexroat, considered by some to be one of the best educators in the West, champions Lego robotics as an excellent way to bring the principles of engineering to children who would otherwise never get the appropriate hands on experience.
What Is Lego Robotics?
Lego robotics clubs are springing up in elementary and secondary school levels. Most often they are an after school activity that students can engage in voluntarily. Structured like engineering design project,
the classes bring engineering teachers and students together in the classroom for interactive lessons using Legos. The overall goal of the program is to put young adults on the road toward pursuing careers in technology and science.
The Lego robotics curricula typically give students a challenge that has real world applications.
Forexample, recently, students had to come up with a strategy for dealing with natural disasters. They created robots and programmed them to provide disaster relief: delivering supplies and rescuing people. Part of the course is also teaching future engineers how to prepare areas for disasters and how to prevent disasters from happening. For example, creating complex seawalls that keep coastal areas from flooding in the event of a tsunami or rising sea levels, an important issue down the road as global climate change begins to batter our coasts.
Addressing Industry Needs
Tracy Rexroat has worked extensively with industry and Arizona schools to develop secondary education curricula that will prepare children to earn degrees in engineering and other technical fields. “Industry leaders need more workers who are able to apply engineering principles to solve real world problems,”
Rexroat has overseen the progress of the Lego robotics clubs, and she says that it is the perfect way to get kids as young as seven or eight considering a career in engineering. It also gives them the tools to meet industry expectations