Mr Jaravata gets it! Engagement is the key to learning. Nothing engages kids like robots! And CUBELETS are engaging robots from which young kids can both enjoy and learn.
Fred Jaravata is a San Francisco Bay area educator who realizes that robots are the way to kids' minds.
According to his blog post ‘Our Students Playing With Cubelets,’ he recently decided to try CUBELETS after a period of working with Lego Mindstorm. He didn’t tell the kids much about the cubes he was giving them and kept directions to a minimum; he wanted to see what would happen naturally.
For those of you not familiar with CUBELETS, every cube has a different function. Some move the robot, some sense temperature or distance, some act like a flashlight. The cubes snap together magnetically and the trick is to snap them together in a fashion that forms an autonomous robot capable of movement in tune with its environment as indicated by its sensors. Kids have made everything from slithering snakes to writing robots with them.
Even without direction Fred Jaravata's kids figured out that different cubes did different things and they proceeded to snap the cubes together forming robots that raced around the table bumping into each other. If you watch and listen to the video Mr Jaravata provided, you can see they had a pretty good time doing this.
Note that this wasn’t all fun and games -- this was a learning experience as well! Putting cubes together to form a functioning robot requires young kids to use procedural thinking and gives them the experience of developing step-by-step strategies for solving problems. That they had fun while doing it only increases the chance that the lessons will stick!
RobotsLAB thanks Mr Jaravata for spreading the gospel of robotic digital learning assistants. There is no better way to engage kids in learning activities. Mr Jaravata is a neighbor of ours -- we hope to get a chance to show him some further robotic teaching wonders like our BOX, MATHBALL, BIOLOID and NAO!