Block Coding Robots for Kids: Benefits and Impact
The fundamentals of our world are based on STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. In the documentary about Voyager-1, you can see the "golden record". This golden record contains several pieces of information about humanity, such as images, sounds, music, and greetings. Apart from that, it is engraved with scientific technology such as the electron distribution of hydrogen and the specification on how to play the record. Carl Sagan, an American Astronomer, responsible for collecting the information, said
"The spacecraft will be encountered, and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space."
We made a piece that an advanced civilization can only use thanks to STEM. It is necessary to practice STEM and develop STEM skills at a young age. The best gateway to that is through coding robots. In the upcoming sections, we will see how coding robots for kids help them become better leaders and innovators in the future.
STEM: What Is It?
In simple words, STEM is a teaching approach that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
STEAM is the successor to STEM, which integrates the arts to expand students' horizons. Traditional classroom education separately teaches science, mathematics, engineering, and technology to the students. STEAM recognizes that Art (and music, and literature, for example) is integral to humans’ understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics because art is crucial for the development of human brains.
Our world is ever-changing with technology, and it is becoming more complex every day. Kids and young adults must get familiar with STEM skills to develop problem-solving and logical skills, and ultimately have the tools and knowledge to make sense of the information.
One of the first steps to developing a STEM skill set is through block-based coding robots.
Block Coding: What Is It?
Richard Hamming was an American mathematician who pioneered block coding in 1950. The main objective of block coding is to make the traditional text-based program coding into a visual format. Users can learn a programming language by dragging and dropping the set of lines of programming code in the working environment.
These sets of lines are known as blocks. These blocks are color graded so that users can quickly identify which function to use to get the desired output.
For example, you want to make a robot move from left to right. For that particular function, a block will be represented in yellow, the color for the movement of an object. Users can drag and drop the yellow block in the working environment and get the output. In our case, this is the robot's movement from left to right.
NOTE: The above-mentioned color-coding may vary based on the software used. Some software may use another color to represent the function. But the constant factor is that color coding will be present in block coding. Block coding software providers will provide you with instructions on how to identify the process and what all the functions are when you install any block coding application on your device.
How Block Coding Helps Kids to Learn STEM Skills
When you think about STEM, all these curricula influence one another. For example, mathematics has a significant impact on engineering. It is almost safe to say that there would be no engineering without mathematics. Similarly, programming has a considerable influence on technology. And block coding is the best way for kids and also beginners to develop their programming skills. Apart from that, several skills can be acquired from block coding.
With block coding, kids can develop problem-solving skills. Imagine your child is working on assembling a robot toy and programming it to make sure it works as desired. At first, they will encounter problems where they have difficulty selecting the block that has the function to get the required output. By choosing different blocks of programming and observing the effects, they learn what works and what doesn’t, for the goal they are attempting to achieve. This helps them develop and enhance their problem-solving skills and project planning.
Similarly, if one or more students come together to do a block coding project, they collaborate and brainstorm ideas. This is a catalyst to develop skills such as teamwork, effective communication, project planning, abstract thinking, and even time management.
How does Block Coding Help in Coding Robots for Kids?
Generally, for industrial robots, like those used in the auto industry, for example, programmers code the AI robots with extensive text-based coding and logic. Also, industry-based robots have millions of moving parts, and programmers must make sure that every aspect moves in a synchronized manner to perform the required action.
But in STEM, basic robot kits usually have a small amount of building blocks and sensors along with the application to program the assembled robot toys. First, a child will assemble the robot toy based on the instruction provided by the robot kit's provider. Kids then connect the constructed toy to the dedicated block coding application, where they can perform block coding for the robot. Learners will have to identify the block for a particular function, drag and drop it in the working environment and see the selected action in real-time using the application on your device.
With the help of a STEM-based robot kit, students will have a basic idea and logic of how industry-based robots work. However, there can be a critical disadvantage in block coding.
In block coding, users have to drag and drop the function. This eliminates the situation where they have to debug the errors they may encounter while programming the robot. This is a noticeable disadvantage when it comes to programming languages. Encountering the error and debugging it is a core part of programming. Another disadvantage is a lack of freedom. With text-based coding, you will have unlimited ways to approach a problem, but with block coding, you will have a handful of ways to approach a problem, which reduces freedom in programming at the cost of ease of use.
But even though there is a noticeable disadvantage, we can easily say that block coding is the best first step to learning to code, and it helps move seamlessly from block coding to advanced coding concepts.
Benefits of Block Coding:
Block coding gives young programmers the ability to see a problem differently. When you approach a problem from various perspectives, you will automatically learn different skills. Similar to that, block coding has multiple benefits, which are as follows:
- Bug-free programming- Kids can focus on selecting the functions instead of spending time debugging
- Time management- Time saved from the absence of debugging means that young or new programmers can focus on complex problems and develop other skills
- Color coding- Different functions such as motion, speech (if applicable), music, and text will be color-coded for kids to understand the process and implement them quickly without any complexity.
- There is no need for a heavy software application- Usually, block coding does not involve heavy software (software that has a large application file size) that you need to install on your local system.
- User-friendly- Normally, any block coding software has a user-friendly UI (User Interface). This is because the software is usually developed with the primary objective of predominantly being used by kids between 3-6. But, it is recommended to have parental supervision whenever kids perform block coding.
- Multiple skills development- As mentioned, with block coding, a child can develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, logical reasoning, team synchronicity, effective communication, and ultimately making sense of the information to solve problems.
Block Coding With Botzeestoys:
Botzeestoys are one of the leading and best coding robot toy makers based on the STEAM educational approach. They offer educational and innovative products to kids to improve their education by integrating cutting-edge technology and fun. With Botzees coding toys, kids can develop the five most crucial skills that are necessary for them in the future to become leaders and innovators in various fields such as medicine, engineering, IT, and even the fashion industry. These five skills are based on Montessori's Sensitive Period theory and Piaget's Cognitive Development theory. These skills are cognitive ability, hands-on ability, creation ability, concentration ability, and logical ability.
Botzeestoys are very strict about the security of the children who work with the robot toys. For instance, the kits all have building blocks with rounded corners so that kids, when assembling, can safely build the robot.
With a state-of-the-art user interface and a variety of features such as motors and sensors, safe building material, step by step instructions on how to assemble the robot toy, and compatibility (supports a variety of devices such as iOS, Android, and Amazon devices such as Kindle devices), Botzeestoys are the best option for your child to get into coding robots and ultimately STEAM education.
Visual programming language is the language being used in block coding. The reason is that young kids and even beginners in computer programming can easily understand the code's logic and function. Block coding is based on the drag and drop function where the user can select the "block" of code desired, and then drag and drop it to the working environment. This eliminates debugging of the code at the expense of simplistic programming.
For Botzeestoys, the right age to start assembling the robot toy and program it is from age 1 to 4+. Each product category has different robot toys for different ages. For example, for kids ages 1-3, one can opt for the Toddler category, which has the train set, and for age 4+, one can opt for a dedicated robot toy.
You need an AR(Augmented Reality) software application to carry out the block coding. You can get that by simply visiting the Google play store or App store and downloading the Botzees AR app. You can connect your robot toy wirelessly and perform block coding.
The future is unpredictable, and one way to make sure that your kids are prepared enough to become better professionals in various sectors and solve complex problems is to prepare them through STEAM education. And the best way to get into STEAM is through block coding. With Botzeestoys, you can prepare your kids for a better future.