TORONTO, April 26 (UPI) -- A Canadian group is using robots to teach elementary school students hands-on skills it says will serve them well in an increasingly technological world.
The Ontario Youth Mind Building Co. is a not-for-profit organization that has developed a robotics program that allows students to build their own robots with the goal of engaging them in science, technology, engineering and math, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Friday.
The hands-on learning comes from designing, building, programming and playing with various robots, program officials said.
The classes work on a trial-and-error model, with students having the mission of completing different games and challenges, helping to develop problem solving and creative thinking without a lot of instructions from the teachers.
"We talk at most, for 3 minutes. We assign a project and issue a challenge and the kids have to complete the challenge," program manager Matthew Koo said. "They have to problem solve themselves and there [are] different paths you can choose. Every path they choose will lead to a different outcome, and no two kids will end up with the same robot."
Nicki Ho, a teacher and volunteer for the OYMBC program in the Hamilton area, said robotics can teach motor skills, patience and sequential planning.
"The program is student-centered and the teacher is merely facilitating the students ... they build confidence in problem solving independently," Ho said. "For example, one week they were to build a gladiator and battle with each other. The gladiator who lost the least amount of pieces won. Then they were to go back to make their gladiators stronger for the next battle."
The program is in 15 schools from Toronto to Hamilton.
"The kids get to learn complicated things through basic methods," Koo said. "They build robots and find problems along the way."