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Dancing, Drawing, And Dramatic Robots: Integrating Robotics And The Arts To Teach Foundational STEAM Concepts To Young Children

Amanda Sullivan, Amanda Strawhacker, Marina Umaschi Bers
Published 2017 · Engineering

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In recent years, there has been an increasing national focus on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for young children beginning in kindergarten. This chapter explores the newest acronym, “STEAM,” which integrates the Arts with STEM education. While many assume the “A” in STEAM refers only to the fine arts, the full potential of STEAM goes beyond aesthetics to include language arts, culture, history, and the humanities . The emerging domain of robotics offers playful strategies for engaging young children with the technology and engineering components of STEM. Additionally, when implemented thoughtfully, robotics is a creative medium with the power to engage young children in the arts and humanities. KIBO is a newly developed robotics construction set specifically designed for children ages 4–7 years to learn foundational engineering and programming content in a hands-on, open-ended way—no screen-time required! This chapter presents vignettes of three interdisciplinary robotics curricular units that utilize the KIBO Robotics Kit: (1) Dances from Around the World, (2) Art-Making Robots, and (3) Superhero Bots. It highlights strategies for taking a child-focused approach to robotics education by drawing on student interest in music, visual arts, and literature when exploring foundational technological ideas.
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