Exploring the World of Robotics: Engaging Secondary Students

Steps to introduce robotics to secondary school students

Begin your secondary students’ robotics journey with an introduction by VEX Robotics. Encourage group research on various robots, their functions, users, and appearances. Have students consider both the positive and negative uses of robots and present their findings using printable slides from this PowerPoint.

Introduce a hands-on activity from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), where students design and model a 2D robotic arm. Working in groups, they must create an arm capable of lifting objects with a gripper. Use the accompanying presentation to explain the main components of a robotic arm. As homework, have students investigate the use of robotic arms in industries and identify potential applications at school or home.

The IET offers additional resources, such as a group activity on controlling search and rescue robot swarms, a lesson plan on choosing suitable robot materials, and a video on robotic surgery. For a comprehensive experience, consider the VEX Robotics curriculum, which offers plastic or metal building options. VEX resources also include a Clawbot micro project and a lesson on using bumper switch sensors to control robot movements.

Encourage thought-provoking discussions about robotics by posing questions like whether robots can be creative, using an animated TED video as a prompt. Have students research the possibility of machines creating high-quality art and debate the attribution of credit to the machine or programmer.

Lastly, spark further debate by exploring the latest robotics news and developments. Encourage students to discuss their reactions to headlines such as “Company aims to build robots that rival humans and animals,” and consider the ethical implications and potential future applications of robotics.