Posted in Classes, Helpful Information

Homeschool Robotics Classes

Homeschool Robotics Classes!!

This past Fall a friend of mine told me about a new robotics class created specifically for homeschoolers.  I registered my youngest son for the program and he really enjoyed it.  They will be starting another four-week class in mid-February.  Bernadette Hennessy May, the teacher of the program, graciously agreed to let me interview her for a blog article.  I’ve listed basic information below.  Following is additional, specific information about her class:

Class: Robot Programming – Mars Rover Expedition

Where: Rhinoceros Toy Store, Jenkintown PA

When: Mondays 2pm to 3pm

Time Frame: 4 weeks

Ages: 8 and up

Cost: $40 per child

Start Date: February 25th; runs until March 18th, 2013

Website: is http://rhinocerostoys.com/

To Register: Please contact the toy store at (215) 886-8697 or email Bernadette.  Her email address is: bhennessymay@gmail.com

On Class Content:  For our classes we use the BeeBot and the ProBot.  They are programmable robots that use the Logo language. Both robots can be programmed to run paths and patterns. The ProBot can draw where it runs.  It contains a touch sensor, sound sensor, and light sensor.  The ProBot is also compatible with Knex building systems.  Although these robots look similar to remote-controlled cars, they are not pre-programmed.  The ProBot & BeeBot require that the child design the desired path, write the instructions, and then program the robot.  The child then watches the robot execute the plan.  During the class, kids learn to create the basic Logo language and the syntax of that language.  They create programs that execute geometric shapes and navigate through mazes.  They also build attachments that the ProBot carries or pushes through a course.  Learning the Logo language and working with basic robots offers an opportunity for children to use the skills of logic, process development, creative problem solving, patience, persistence, and teamwork, while reinforcing many mathematical skills.

Lesson Plan Outline:  Every lesson includes time for the children to follow one or more of the engineering development processes in solving the current challenge.  The beginner classes focus on the basics of programming development and engineering teamwork.  As students become more advanced, their challenges become more difficult and the amount of time devoted to a particular project increases. The more advanced the student, the more complicated the problem, and the longer it takes to draft a plan; then program, execute, and troubleshoot it.

Rhinoceros Toys Robotics vs. First Lego League Robotics – What’s the difference?:  Our class is not associated with First Lego League Robotics, although we use the same Logo programming language.  First Lego League Robotics classes are associated with the Lego Mindstorm Robot.  They are also an organization that sponsors competitions.

Other Classes at Rhinoceros Toys:  Our store offers numerous classes to children, and we are willing to start more classes, particularly for homeschoolers, if enough students are interested.    We will run a class with a core of 3 students (and typically not more than 5 students).  I specialize in curriculum development.  If a homeschool group wants specific classes or topics developed, please contact us and we can discuss the details.  Rhinoceros Toys stores offer classes at both our Jenkintown and New Jersey sites.  Classes include: robotics, knitting, crocheting, sewing, strategy game time, jewelry making, and traditional games. We also offer art classes through the Blue Heron Art Studio.

Thanks Bernadette, for providing Robotics classes for the homeschool community!   More information can be found about Rhinoceros Toy Store classes on their website:  http://www.rhinoceros.co/activity-center/workshops/#WorkshopsOffered.

Posted by Gwen Fredette on February 11, 2013

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