PreK STEM: Robotics, Programming, and Problem Solving
An Early Learning STEM Initiative
New technology for young children brings robotics to our doorstep. Robotics is a powerful, hands-on, developmentally appropriate tool that allows children to explore, imagine, create, test, and evaluate. This tool can help teach our children 21st century skills including collaboration, communication, and problem-solving. As a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative, robotics, programming, and problem solving must be at the forefront of today's learning opportunities for success in tomorrow's jobs.
Exploratory Outcomes for Children:
- Use an Engineering Design Cycle to solve problems.
- Program developmentally-appropriate robots.
- Use a Design Journal to track ideas and progress.
- Work effectively in teams.
- Build background knowledge.
- Opens the door to technological thinking and working for teachers and children.
- Helps explore how robotics learning experiences can help children:
- Make abstract ideas concrete.
- Learn programming skills which correlate with the Florida Standards and Math Practices.
- Improve visual memory, basic number sense, and language skills.
- Strengthen learning skills such as working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control.
PreK STEM: Robotics, Programming, and Problem Solving - What the Teachers Say.
Program Description and Follow-Up:
The initial phase of the Robotics and Problem Solving initiative was a three-month program and part of the morning rotation at the preschools. The second phase of the initiative was expanded to a 6-month implementation of the Robotics and Problem Solving lessons. During this phase young children were able to create and solve more difficult challenges while practicing their problem solving and communication skills.
During Phase 2, teachers were asked to take pictures and document weekly progress of children using the robots according to the lessons created by FIE researchers. At the culmination of this phase, FIE researcher, Dr. Carlson, recorded teacher interviews that focused on what the children had learned and if their learning transferred to other parts of the curriculum and/or school day.
For more information contact:
Heather Monroe, Ed.D.
Associate Director for Program
Development and Administration