First of all, what is Arduino?
“Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs – light on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online.” In other words, a little programmable robot.
For those who are familiar with programming, it uses a simplified programming model based on the language C, which isn’t the easiest programming language to learn as a beginner, but there are hundreds of resources and tutorials online that will help you figure it out together.
So, why should my child learn Arduino?
Kids are naturally drawn to hands-on activities. Getting their hands on anything they can, try to take it apart and find out why things are they way they are. Kids can also be impatient and want (almost) immediate results. Robots can do just that. They can excite kids in a way “Hello World” can’t compete with, and kids can learn the power of cause and effect through robots and immediate results. Because Arduinos are super fast at prototyping and amazingly powerful, kids are able to hook up LED lights in matter of minute and control their behaviour. Teaching complex technology to children can be, erm, difficult but with a robot, kids are able to see, hear and touch their robot and learn directly by programming it, turning an abstract idea into reality.
Arduino kits are ideal for kids because of it’s easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users. Breadboards lets you connect software and hardware together neatly, easily and temporarily. It lets kids experience and try things out without worrying about damaging expensive circuitry or computer parts. It also allows them to create and recreate robots to their imagination by connecting and reconnecting components.
Learn Circuitry (hardware) and Programming (software) together.
Kids can learn circuitry without understanding the complex theories behind electronics to start building their own robot. Explaining components and wiring can be done easily using diagrams and metaphors. They will also learn about common components for simple robots such as batteries, resistors, LEDs, transistors, current (voltage), loops and much more!
Programming an Arduino is as easy as it sounds. All we need to do is download the Arduino software, plug it into a computer, and write a few lines of code. The code is what determines the effects of the robot. For example, controlling the frequency of a blinking LED light or how fast a motor spins. Kids will learn how to set-up a robot, control it and compile code themselves.
Challenging your kids to question and think critically.
Working with robots will, to say the least, open up doors to a lot of questions. Each time they connect a component, kids will want to know why and how. This can open up discussions to a million different questions that can be explained in a million different ways. Kids can express their interest, curiosity and imagination.
How can my kids get hands-on experience with Arduino kits?
Under the GUI offers “Robotics, Circuits and 3D Printing” summer camps that give kids the opportunity to build their own robots by using Arduino kits. Camps are small-sized and provide hands-on experience for kids to learn about breadboards, circuitry and step-by-step processes to building a robot. Kids will feel accomplished each day by adding more and more complex instructions to their robots! Best of all, they get to take their kits home with home after each camp!
Hurry! Spaces are running out quick. For more information about camps, visit: www.underthegui.com/camps/