eSchoolNews: Bringing Robots to Early Education Classrooms in Rural Nevada

In this article, Joy Foremaster from PBS Reno, describes how their free Curiosity Classroom program is introducing PreK–4th grade students in underserved areas to the joys of coding. Using the KIBO robot, with approximately 40 facilitators, they take 225 robots to take on the road to introduce the students in rural schools coding and robotics, which they may not have had the opportunity to experience.

Says Joy Foremaster, “Since there are so few opportunities for young students to interact with robots, and especially for the rural students we serve, it’s really important that they each get to use their own robot during the lessons. We want every child to get their hands on a robot and practice some coding.”

The article reads in part

“As we were researching trends in STEAM education to update our program, we noticed that robots were at the forefront, but most of the opportunities only existed for middle and high school students. Here’s how we’re bringing robots to younger students in rural communities.

Curiosity Classroom is active in seven counties in rural Nevada. Much of that area is very rural. One of the things that makes us proud of this program is the fact that we are able to bring this technology to students who don’t necessarily have a lot of opportunities to interact with something like a robot. And we don’t just bring one robot to show them and then give them each five minutes to play with it. Every student has their own robot to work with throughout the program.

During the 2021-2022 school year, we held 787 workshops serving about 20,000 students—and the program is growing, mostly by word of mouth among teachers who see how it expands their students’ horizons. As we’ve done activities related to the Mars Rover, for example, we’ve seen that a lot of little kids don’t realize that a robot can’t think for itself. That’s a really basic thing that adults know, but it blows little kids’ minds that they have to tell the robot what to do. They see these big robots out in the world, and then they’re so excited when we help bring them to their level.”

Read the full article.