STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Perhaps you’ve seen the term before or maybe STEM is completely new to you. Whichever the case, STEM education has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years.
While these subjects are not new to the curriculum, educators have been looking for more meaningful and effective ways to connect with and engage students in this content. Both the Halton District and Halton Catholic School Boards have been working with innovators, educators, industry leaders, and community members to foster innovation and incorporate STEM education into our schools. This includes working with organizations such as First Robotics, a non-profit STEM engagement program, and implementing new pilots such as I-STEM, a program which will equip students at Aldershot High School with transferable skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship, and collaboration.
Our schools aren’t the only institutions providing these learning experiences, though. There are community-based programs and businesses, such as E-Bots Robotics, dedicated to engaging children in STEM learning through the world of programming, designing, and building robots through active, creative, and meaningful learning. They take it beyond what may be learned in a classroom.
E-Bots teaches computer programming through the medium of Lego robotics. Founded in Oakville in 2008, this organization and its students have already had tremendous success. They are nine times Provincial Champions and eight times second-place champions. Students have traveled to nine International Championships and were winners of the 2011/12 First Lego League (FLL) World Festival. Most recently they placed second at the 2017/18 World Festival.
E-Bot Robotics engages students through two levels of classes: WeeBots and E-Bots. WeeBots is for grades 2-3, while E-Bots is for Grades 4+. Students investigate concepts and mechanizations of simple machines, compound simple machines, and an introduction to programming, using LEGO models and WeDo programming (WeDo Software allows students to program the robots, controlling their actions, sounds and responses).
Many of their alumnae have gone off to robotics, engineering, and mechatronics programs. Two of their students won the $80,000 Schulich Scholarships and both are in mechatronics programs at the University of Waterloo. Additionally, some of their graduates have held jobs at Apple, Nvidia, and HexBugs.
If you’re interested in exploring what E-Bot Robotics has to offer your child, you can enroll in one of their seasonal programs. Their programs run Fall (September – November), Winter (January – March) and Spring (April – June). E-Bots programs are 10 weeks, one day a week for two hours while Wee-Bots programs are generally five weeks, one day a week for two hours.
Teacher and Coach Stephanie Sutherland says, “These types of programs allow kids to experience an education they may not necessarily get in school. We started our journey in 2008 and have registered thousands of children who have joined us in Oakville from locations far and wide.
Using different programming platforms, we enable students to explore science, technology, engineering and math in a fun, hands–on way while allowing them to work with others and excel in their ability to problem solve, stimulating critical thinking, and communication.”
STEM learning isn’t the same old science and math from back in the day. Today, it goes beyond the textbook, giving children the opportunity to apply themselves and test the limits of learning in a way never granted before.
If you’re looking for a new way for your son or daughter to experience the world of STEM outside of the classroom, E-Bots Robotics is the place to start. Check them out today!
by Anneliese Lawton
E-Bots Robotics, Oakville