Dylan Moase checks some equipment on his group’s First Lego League robot during a meeting of the Kensington robotics club Thursday evening.
©Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
Engineering, computer programing, problem solving, teamwork, perseverance and critical thinking – the list of things robotics can teach kids goes on and on.
So says Jaime Cole, an educator and Kensington area mom who has helped run a robotics-themed club for kids out of a local pre-school since September.
Watching the kids learn about and build their pint-sized robots has been a very rewarding experience, said Cole.
“They love it,” she said.
“I think they’ve learned a lot and it’s amazing to see their confidence, it’s amazing to see their scientific thinking skills and their problem solving skills develop; and how well they can work cooperatively.”
Cole got involved in the program two years ago when her own kids signed up, though at that time the club was only available in Charlottetown. It regularly attracted more than 100 kids.
As other Kensington families found out about the club, Cole and a few others started discussing the possibility of starting a version closer to home. Working with Engineers P.E.I. and UPEI, which are the club’s sponsor for the province, they purchased two robotics kits from the First Lego League and started organizing meetings at Fun Times daycare twice a month.
The league is an international program, developed by Lego, where kids take a kit full of interchangeable parts and its associated software and try to complete pre-set goals, like getting the robot through a maze or throwing a ball.
There are about 12 kids in the Kensington club this year, which is all Cole and the other felt they could handle with their current resources.
It’s a fun time, said participant Dylan Moase.
“I guess I was just interested in building and programming. It just always fascinated me,” he said.
It was tough when they first started, he added, when they just had a box of parts they were supposed to build something out of. But they all got the hang of it pretty quick.
“It’s like ridding a bike, after you know how to do it you don’t forget.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about the robotics program can contact the organizers at PEIRobots@gmail.com.