National Robotics Week 2023 (otherwise known as RoboWeek) is happening April 8th-16th. This is the perfect time to introduce your students to the wonderful world of robotics! Robots are here. We interact with them daily. But do your students understand what a robot is? How they are created? Why do we use them? How a basic understanding of robotics is important to their future? These engaging activities will introduce your middle school students to the basics of robotics and help you celebrate National Robotics Week 2023!
1. Assign a robotics Webquest
What is a robot? What are the parts? Why do we use robots to do jobs humans could do? Send your students off to do their own research and answer a list of provided robotics-themed questions. Start your lesson off by having students share their thoughts and opinions (and probably misconceptions too!) about robots. Then send them off to learn all about robots and their important role in today’s society.
2. Research a real-world robot
Did you know there are pizza-making robots that work in restaurants, rescue robots that help during natural disasters, and bee robots that assist with pollination? Give your students the opportunity to explore all the amazing robots that exist in the real world and discover the role robots play in our society today. Then your students can create presentations to share with the class.
3. Celebrate with a robot-themed movie day
There are lots of great movies and documentaries about robotics and real-world robots. Here are some that are perfect for middle school!
- More Than Robots (2022): This documentary follows a set of diverse high school students participating in a FIRST robotics competition. Your students will learn about FIRST and what makes it “more than robots.” As they become emotionally invested in the trials of the contestants, your students will also be inspired to pursue their own STEM dreams!
- PBS NOVA Wonders “Can we build a brain?” (2018): This class period length feature will teach students about artificial intelligence. They will explore current applications and limitations of the technology and its impact on society. Your students will be amazed by the many things computers can do and deepen their understanding of the AI technology they likely use every day.
- PBS NOVA “Rise of the Robots” (2016): This engaging documentary will teach students about robots in the real world and their impacts on society. They will follow contestants in the US Department of Defense’s DARPA Challenge as they build rescue robots and experience highs and lows throughout the competition.
- Spare Parts (2015): This awesome film is based on the true story of an unlikely high school robotics team that competes and wins big at MIT’s annual underwater robotics competition. Your students will love rooting for the underdogs and thinking about the importance of teamwork and perseverance.
4. Learn to code!
Hardware is an important part of robotics, but programming is equally as important. You can introduce your students to this important 21st-century skill and have a lot of fun with an introductory coding activity. Code.org offers a wide range of hour-long activities for all ages and skill levels.
5. Teach about robots with a choice board
Let your students choose how they want to learn about robots this week. Do they want to play a game? Complete a research project? Make a poster? Giving your students a choice in how they learn will increase engagement and result in an awesome week of learning!
Ready to celebrate National Robotics Week 2023?
Check out these ready-to-go lesson plans for an amazing RoboWeek! You’ll find robotics-themed Webquests, research projects, movie guides, choice boards, and more. Your students will learn new skills, explore the pros and cons of integrating robots into our society, and be inspired to learn more about real-world robots.