Raising Innovators: How Robotics in STEM Education is Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders

Robotics in STEM education for hands-on learning

In an era dominated by rapid technological advancements, preparing our children for the future has never been more crucial. As parents, we strive to equip our kids with the skills they’ll need to thrive in a dynamic, tech-driven world, with transferable skills that will serve them for a long period. One of the most powerful tools at our disposal is education, particularly in fields that blend technology and creativity, such as robotics. We will learn what kinds of benefits students will reap when they are involved in robotics, and the STEM education will equip students to be more ready and confident facing the new challenges.

 

The Role of Robotics in STEM Education

Robotics education stands at the intersection of technology and creativity, offering a unique platform for students to enhance their critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. By incorporating robotics into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education, children learn not just to interact with technology, but to become its creators. This hands-on learning approach encourages students to understand complex concepts in a more engaging and practical manner. 

When robotics was introduced to high school students in the late 80’s, it was such an innovative concept that it was difficult to imagine how the STEM field would advance and integrate with the K-12 education. Over the next several decades, the importance of hands-on experience and project-based learning become an important part of education experience, educators and parents see that early exposure to robotics can make such a huge difference in young people’s lives. 

Recently, there are many organizations and start-up companies that are striving to make the introduction to robotics and coding easier, offering programs that are age appropriate. We will learn about the benefits of robotics education for students, the present challenges, and how the parents can support our young people. 

 

Benefits of Robotics for Students

 

Academic Improvement through Robotics

While there has been drastic improvement in the K-12 education system to incorporate hands-on learning, it is challenging for our young minds to connect what they learn in the classroom and how that impacts the real world. 

Robotics has shown to significantly impact students’ academic performance, particularly in STEM subjects. It offers a tangible way to apply mathematical concepts, scientific principles, and engineering processes. This real-world application helps solidify their understanding and often leads to improved grades and a deeper interest in STEM fields.

For example, many students don’t hear about the Design Thinking process that is readily used in many engineering disciplines and business settings, as well as academic settings in higher education. Design Thinking is a unique way of solving problems by focusing on understanding people’s needs. It’s especially helpful for tackling tricky problems that don’t have clear solutions. The process involves getting to know the problem from a human perspective, brainstorming a lot of ideas, and then trying out solutions to see what works best. It’s all about being creative and hands-on to find the best answer. Students can learn a lot from going through this process, yet this is not being readily taught in the traditional classroom. 

Enhanced Engagement with Hands-On and Project-Based Learning

The interactive nature of robotics captivates students’ attention more effectively than traditional teaching methods. It challenges them to be creators, encouraging active participation and sustained engagement in their learning process. This engagement is a critical factor in academic success and long-term interest in education.

Many current robotics programs use simple block coding programs to see the connection between the coding and how the coding affects the robot’s execution. Students can see the cause and effect of the coding instantly, and this helps the students to be actively involved in the process of planning and executing in problem-solving. 

A recent study shows from FIRST shows that the students who were involved in their robotics program shows a significantly higher percentage of students who were a part of the robotics program will declare STEM, especially in Engineering or Computer Science field, and this trend was even stronger among especially female students who are considered significantly underrepresented in the STEM field. 

Career Readiness in STEM field

As we move towards a future increasingly dominated by technology and automation, it’s becoming clear that these elements will be integral to almost every career path. In this evolving landscape, robotics education has emerged as a critical tool. It does more than just acquaint students with the latest technology; it deeply embeds the soft skills that will be paramount for success in the future workforce. By engaging with robotics, students learn the importance of teamwork, as they often work in groups to solve complex problems. They enhance their communication skills, learning to articulate ideas and technical concepts clearly and effectively. 

Additionally, robotics projects teach valuable project management skills, including planning, execution, and adaptation, preparing students for the dynamic challenges of the professional world. This comprehensive approach not only prepares students for careers in technology but also equips them with the versatile skills needed in a wide range of professions, ensuring they are adaptable, agile, and ready for the future.

Adult mentorship also has played an important role in this area. Many volunteers, educators, and parents paved the way to make robotics more accessible for younger students. Students who benefited from the early exposure come back to the activities and serve as dedicated mentors. 

 

Overcoming Challenges Getting Involved in Robotics

Understandably, the cost and accessibility of robotics education can be significant concerns for parents. Also, for parents who do not have any technical background, learning and organizing the team to join the robotics competition can be a daunting task. 

However, many schools and community centers now offer robotics clubs or programs that are either free or low cost. Additionally, there are many summer and year round programs available at affordable prices to give solid education on computational thinking skills, design thinking skills, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. 

 

How Parents Can Support for Your Student to Start

Encouraging your child to participate in robotics doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are a few practical steps you can take:

  • Look for local robotics clubs or camps that align with your child’s interest level and your budget.
  • Visit STEM/STEAM fairs that are offered by local community colleges or organizations.
  • Attend events like robotics competitions or open houses to heighten your child’s interest and understanding of the field.

 

Success Stories of Students

The documentary “More Than Robots” captivating chronicles the journey of four teenage teams from across the globe as they gear up for the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition. The film takes us into the lives of teams from Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Chiba, Japan, showcasing their journey as they aim to bring their innovative designs to the forefront of the fiercely competitive international robotics championship. Despite facing hurdles such as limited resources in their communities and the unprecedented challenges posed by a global pandemic, these young individuals demonstrate resilience and determination. Through their experiences, they discover that the competition transcends the realm of robotics, teaching them invaluable lessons about teamwork, innovation, and perseverance.

 

Conclusion

The benefits of integrating robotics into STEM education extend far beyond the classroom. It prepares students for a future where technology and digital literacy will be paramount. By fostering an interest in robotics, parents can provide their children with a solid foundation for success in nearly any field they choose to pursue.

With the future coming at us faster than ever, it’s time to encourage our children to engage with robotics and STEM. Interested in seeing these benefits firsthand? Check out our robotics program informationregister for our summer camp program, or attend our upcoming robotics open house to learn more about how this exciting field can set your child on the path to becoming a leader of tomorrow.

Mastering Time Management: A Parent’s Definitive Guide

Time management for students

Time management is a crucial skill that can shape the academic and personal successes of children in their formative years. For parents of students in grades 4-8, the time to instill these vital habits is now. But where do you even start? In the fast-paced world of parenting, helping your child with time management can seem like an overwhelming task. This article serves as your beacon, guiding you through concrete strategies to help your preteen toward a more organized and less stressful academic life. Additionally, it fosters skills that will serve them well into adulthood.

Building the Foundation: Consistency is Key

When your child knows what to expect each day, they can plan their activities and responsibilities with greater ease. Establishing a consistent daily routine that incorporates study sessions, chores, free time, and relaxation will not only teach the value of repetition but also the concept of planning and preparation.

 

Crafting a Daily Plan 

Sit down with your child and create a schedule that includes all their commitments. Visual aids like a large calendar or a homemade planner can make this exercise more engaging and memorable.

The Morning Routine

Setting a consistent wake-up time gives structure to the start of the day. Subsequent tasks, such as eating breakfast, getting dressed, and prepping for school, should also follow a predictable sequence.

Study Blocks

After-school study blocks should be allocated based on when your child is most alert and free from distractions. Young minds are like sponges, and this is valuable time for learning and homework. By maintaining these consistent study sessions, their brain will naturally switch into ‘academic mode’ during these hours.

Leisure Time

Equally important is the allocation of uninterrupted play or leisure time. Not only does it provide a well-deserved break, but it actually contributes to productivity by allowing the mind to refresh.

Bedtime

A consistent bedtime ensures that your child is rested and prepared for the next day’s activities. Furthermore, avoid deviations from the schedule, even on weekends, as this can disrupt the routine’s effectiveness.

The Art of Punctuality

Being on time is a skill that can take you far in life. Teaching your child the importance of punctuality will help them manage deadlines and engagements without stress.

 

Setting Timelines and Reminders

Use visible clocks and timers to help your child understand the value of time and to prompt them when transitions between activities are necessary.

Family Calendar

A family calendar that everyone can access and update is a great way to keep track of important dates, such as tests, project deadlines, and extracurricular activities. This single point of reference ensures that no events are forgotten.

A Digital Assist

Depending on your child’s affinities, digital tools like phone reminders may be more effective. However, it’s important to balance convenience with the benefits of tactile and visual learning provided by traditional tools.

Eliminating Procrastination

Procrastination often stems from a lack of clarity on where to begin. By breaking down tasks into smaller, manageable steps, you can help your child ease into the process without the fear of being overwhelmed.

Understanding the Assignment

Before starting a task, have your child read it thoroughly to get a clear understanding of what is required. Also, If they’re unsure of anything, encourage them to ask their teachers, eliminating any potential misunderstandings that could lead to delays.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro Technique, a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo, breaks work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. These intervals are also known as ‘Pomodoro’.

The Power of Small Wins

Completing a smaller task on a long to-do list can have a remarkable effect on motivation. Additionally, celebrating these small victories with your child can create a positive feedback loop that encourages continued progress.

Appropriate Pacing

Learning how to pace oneself by managing the workload within the time available is a skill that many adults still struggle with. By monitoring and adjusting pacing, you can encourage your child to work steadily without burnout.

Self-Regulation

Teach your child to monitor their energy levels and to recognize when it’s time for a break. This self-regulation will help them pace their work and will enhance their time management skill.

Prioritizing Tasks

Help your child categorize tasks based on importance and urgency. Doing so will guide them in planning their time to tackle the most critical assignments first, preventing a last-minute rush that often results in subpar work.

Time-Tracking Exercises

Conduct exercises that involve estimating the time needed to complete various tasks.

Over time, this will help your child match their expectations with reality, leading to more accurate planning. In conclusion, time management isn’t just about getting more done. It’s a tool that, when wielded correctly, can greatly reduce stress and instill a sense of control in the face of life’s many demands. By implementing the practices outlined in this guide, you will not only be equipping your child for success but also fostering a deeper, more communicative relationship built on mutual respect and understanding. After all, managing time is about more than managing hours on a clock; it’s about managing life.

Power of a Growth Mindset: Why It Matters for Your Child

Growth Mindset

Incorporate growth mindset principles into everyday activities to foster a positive attitude towards learning and unleash the full potential of K-8th graders. Excellerate Learning Studio utilizes the Learning Framework – the Four Learning Domains – based on cutting-edge research in learning psychology, science, and technology. Students develop values from the growth mindset and metacognition, applying them to group core sessions or 1:1 sessions. The program promotes goal setting, facing challenges, and productive struggle, empowering students to grow and overcome obstacles. Excellerate is dedicated to nurturing growth mindset through personalized coaching and resources, ensuring a brighter future for children. Foster a growth mindset and witness your child thrive.

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Unlock the Power of Goal Setting with Your Child

Family Goal Setting

Unlock the Power of Goal Setting with Your Child

Imagine you want to go to a really fun yet important place. You know once you get there, you will have an amazing experience. The problem is…you don’t know where you are going. This poses many challenges. You don’t know how long it will take to get there or how to prepare for it. The panic sets in, and now we are under enormous stress and anxiety.
Picture this: you’re itching for a thrilling adventure, but there’s a catch – you have no clue where to go. Talk about a dilemma! Not knowing the destination means you’re in the dark about everything else too: how long it’ll take, what you should pack, and so on. Suddenly, panic and anxiety hit you like a ton of bricks, leaving you feeling overwhelmed.

Table of Contents

What is goal setting?

Do we really understand the true meaning of “goal setting”? Typically, when we think of setting goals, it’s either in the context of new year’s resolutions or sales targets. And honestly, just the thought of either of those scenarios makes us cringe. But why? What’s the common factor?

It’s the dread that comes with setting goals. We can’t deny that deep down, we know we have an obligation to meet them and produce the desired results. And let’s face it, nobody likes to be evaluated. That’s why we have such a negative association with goals – we feel like we’re being judged when we inevitably don’t meet them.

So what’s the solution? We simply avoid setting goals altogether, as if that will make the problem disappear. We never hear about “family” goal setting, and we don’t feel comfortable teaching our kids how to set goals and use them effectively. But as caregivers, we want nothing more than to see our children achieve anything they set their minds to, driven by their own passion and confidence.

But let’s take a moment here and try to approach goal setting from a different perspective. Traditional goal setting may suck the joy out of the process, but you can change your mindset and view it as setting a destination on a GPS. Goal setting is about visualizing what you want to achieve and creating Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound action steps to get there. It’s about committing to see the desired outcome. With thoughtful planning and clear intentions, parents can provide valuable guidance and empower their kids to make mindful decisions about reaching their goals.

Now, goal setting becomes a series of meaningful decisions that bring us closer to what we truly want to achieve. We often set lofty goals or no goals at all and end up feeling overwhelmed with anxiety. However, by changing our perspective on goal setting, we can easily imagine the kind of life we want for our families.

Why is goal setting important?

Goal setting is important because it helps us to achieve more when have a sense of achievement and build confidence. Have you heard that learning how to make a bed with precision is often part of the routine and training for military cadets? In many military training academies and basic training programs around the world, recruits are taught the importance of attention to detail, cleanliness, and discipline. The process is not just about creating a tidy bed; it is about instilling a sense of order, routine, and pride in one’s work. Making a bed properly is considered a simple yet effective way to instill these values. When we help our kids to learn how to set goals and achieve them, they will earn more opportunity to gain confidence and build intrinsic motivation. 

Goal setting is like plotting a course and having the ability to navigate and adjust along the way. It empowers us to take control and determine our path. Goals are not just destinations; they require skill-building and gradual progress. When we see goals as goals, not destinations, the hardest part is the execution. For example, if I want to run a marathon, I can’t simply do it the next day. I need to train for weeks and months, setting immediate to long-term goals. The execution of goals is often the toughest part, but by setting and working towards them, we can achieve incredible things.

One of the important skills that children learn through practicing goal achievement is persistence. As caregivers, it is our responsibility to help them develop this essential skill by consistently checking in on their progress. Think of this as providing the turn-by-turn directions and recalibration like a GPS system. Our ultimate goal is for our children to become independent learners who take ownership of their own learning and lives. Until then, it’s our job to be a reliable source of support and security whenever they need us, like a pit stop during a race.

Lastly, goal setting helps us understand where we currently stand and what we need for the journey ahead. Have you ever mistakenly selected the wrong mode of transportation and realized it would take much longer to reach your destination? 


Whether it’s a car, bike, train, or even on foot, preparedness is essential. Do we have enough fuel? Is the bike properly maintained? Do we have the necessary funds for the train ticket? What if we want to take a different route? These situations provide valuable learning opportunities for children, teaching them preparedness and self-advocacy skills that will guide them towards their ultimate destination.

So, let’s teach our kids the power of goal setting and watch them thrive.

How to do goal setting

How to help my child to learn to set and achieve goals so they can do anything they set their minds to

Get ready for a fresh start in the new year! Goal setting doesn’t have to be boring – it can actually be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your child! At Excellerate, we’ve got some great strategies to help you, as a parent, guide your kids towards achieving their dreams. We’ll show you how to set attainable goals and develop good habits that promote growth over time.

Even at this young age, it’s never too early to talk to your child about their aspirations and what they want to achieve this year. These goals don’t have to be huge – they can be as simple as trying something new or building on their existing talents.

We’ve got some examples to inspire you and your child. These three everyday activities will make it easier for you to jump into the goal-setting journey.

Grade K-3

In today’s world, it’s important for kids to develop certain skills: consistency and confidence. One way you can help your child is by teaching them to set goals. But as parents, it’s also our role to hold them accountable and help them build strategies for success. By doing this exercise together, you’ll both experience the joy of accomplishing what you set out to do. Plus, it’s a chance for you to praise your child for their achievements along the way.

Let’s define a goalHey, want to level up to Guppy status before summer vacation? You’ve got three levels to go by June, and we still have six whole months. Let’s do this!
Winning strategies

How can we make swimming even more fun for you? Let’s make sure we’re prepared by packing your swimming gear right after dinner. That way, we won’t forget anything and can head straight to the pool after school.

I know you don’t like feeling cold before swimming. How about wearing a cozy hat, gloves, and boots to keep you warm beforehand?

And guess what? After each level you complete, we can go treat ourselves to some delicious ice cream at your favorite spot to celebrate!

Reflection/RedirectionDon’t you love that feeling of accomplishment when you complete a level? You totally deserve some ice cream for all the hard work you’ve put into finishing this level! I understand that going swimming twice a week can be challenging, but let’s stick to the schedule so you can breeze through the next two levels in no time!

Grade 3-5

Starting early makes it easier to follow these suggestions, but it’s never too late to begin! Let me show you an example of how you can help your child set specific goals and take action to achieve them.

Let’s define a goalI get it, reading books regularly can be tough, especially when we’re always tempted to use our devices during our free time. But what if we could find a way to squeeze in 30 minutes of reading every day and still have time for our favorite media?
Winning strategies

Hey, remember when we were chatting about fishing? I was thinking, why don’t we grab a book on the subject? It could be a fun way to learn together!

Speaking of books, I’ve got this awesome recommendation from a friend. Want to read it with me before bed this week?

We’ve got a bit of a drive ahead of us for your basketball game tonight, about 30 minutes. How about making the most of it by listening to some audiobooks? Time will fly by!

Reflection/Redirection

Having trouble reading for 30 minutes straight? How about splitting it into three 10-minute sessions? When would be a good time for you to do this regularly?

I’ve noticed you have a preference for a certain genre of book. How can we discover more books like that? Should we hop online for a search or reach out to the librarian for recommendations?

If your child already has some experience with goal setting, let’s dig deeper and have meaningful discussions. The key is to help them make connections between their goals and the actions they need to take. Sometimes, this means they may have to face failure or deal with the consequences of not taking action. But it’s more important for them to learn how to bounce back from defeat and keep going, rather than just experiencing constant success.

Grade 5-8

We want students to take ownership of their goals, even if they are just starting out. It’s okay to start small and gradually work towards bigger goals. By setting age-appropriate goals, your child can learn to be more independent and confident. This exercise can also help them identify their strengths and make better decisions in their daily lives.

Let’s define a goalHow can you organize your time, so you can continue with the jazz band, basketball team practice and games, and memorizing all the lines for the upcoming musical while you spend some time taking care of pets, turn in all your homework on time, and study for the test, so you can meet the academic expectation?
Winning strategies

Let’s list all the weekly schedule to see how you can fit the time for practices and homework. 

We can see that you can focus better and finish your homework right after your trombone practice. Perhaps, you can schedule to do the homework after practice? 

I love how you organized the digital flash cards, so you can practice your Spanish vocabulary in the car to the games!

Do you like studying with your friends together? Why don’t you invite your friends to study together and play some hoops afterward?

Reflection/RedirectionWhen you have a hard time managing all these activities, you will have to think about the priorities and how you can budget your time to cut some things that don’t work for you?

At this age, we’ll be working with pre-teens or teenagers. Their emotional and mental needs are changing every day, but having clear goals and tackling challenging issues can make them feel more confident and grounded. By regularly doing this exercise, you and your child can discover their learning strengths and develop critical thinking skills for everyday decision-making.

Of course, we need to take a balanced approach, since you know your kids best. Some kids may need more guidance before they can take independent steps, while others may want to take on more responsibility even if we think they’re not ready. As parents and caregivers, we may never feel like they’re fully prepared, but our students are capable of more than we give them credit for. With guidance and a new perspective, they can define their own success and achieve it. Instead of just setting goals, let’s call it a goal achieving plan.

Lastly, let’s not forget to celebrate every small success, as it will lead us to the next achievement.

Excellerate’s Goal Setting Practices


At Excellerate Learning Studio, we believe that setting goals is a crucial part of learning. It sets the foundation for all other areas of growth. That’s why we provide our students with a valuable tool called the “Daily Success Plan” in their group core or 1:1 coaching sessions. This form helps students and our coaches communicate their goals and strategize how to achieve them. It also gives students a chance to reflect on the impact of their actions. We’re committed to creating an environment that encourages a strong habit of setting and achieving both short-term and long-term goals.

In our sessions, we guide our students in practicing several key elements of goal setting and achievement. First, we emphasize the importance of setting clear goals and creating a plan to reach them. This provides direction and clarity, ensuring that students know what they want to achieve and how to get there.

Persistence is also a crucial factor in achieving goals. We teach students the value of staying focused and determined, even when faced with challenges or setbacks. For example, if a student struggles to focus for more than 10 minutes, we help them recognize this and set a goal to gradually increase their attention span. By taking frequent breaks and finding coping strategies that work best for them, they can develop metacognition and improve their ability to concentrate.

We also emphasize the importance of understanding the big picture. By seeing how their efforts align with their long-term vision, students stay motivated and balanced between the daily grind and their ultimate destination.

Intrinsic motivation is another crucial aspect of goal achievement. When students feel motivated from within themselves, they are driven to push forward and put in the necessary effort.

Finally, we emphasize the importance of reflection and learning from experiences. By taking the time to reflect on their progress and make adjustments as needed, students can continue to learn and grow.

Without these key elements in place, students may appear to be working hard but make little progress. By focusing on goal setting, persistence, understanding the big picture, intrinsic motivation, and reflection, we help our students achieve success in the most effective and meaningful way.

Setting goals is a skill that can benefit both children and adults. It teaches us discipline, perseverance, and the value of hard work. By setting achievable and meaningful goals, we can improve our lives and reach our full potential. As parents, it’s important for us to guide our children in this process, preparing them for future success in all aspects of life. Let’s work together to help your child learn this valuable skill.

At Excellerate, our team is dedicated to helping young minds develop goal-setting skills through personalized coaching and resources. Reach out to us and embark on this journey towards a brighter future for your child and yourself. It’s never too early or too late to start setting goals and achieving great things! Let us help your child and you strengthen this important skill today. 

Fill out this form if you want your child to develop this critical 21st-century learning skill as they gain academic strength.

Tools to Use for Goal Setting (aka Goal Achieving)

Excellerate’s Daily Success Plan is a great tool to help us achieve our goals, but sometimes we need a little extra boost. That’s where books, podcasts, and TED Talks come in! If you’re looking for some inspiration, I highly recommend checking out “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier” by Robert Emmons. It’s a fascinating read that will make you more mindful of the good things in your life. For those who want to understand the importance of finding purpose in their work, Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why” is a must-listen. And if you’re looking for practical advice on achieving your goals, James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” is a game-changer. With these resources at your fingertips, you’ll be well on your way to success!