Robotics program opens eyes to future

Educators are trying to get students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects in various ways. Robots are a good one — even at an early age.

On April 25, preschool students from Busy Bees Academy visited C4 — Columbus Area Career Connection and learned about robots up close and hands-on.

The robots they saw were part of the C4 automation and robotics program, launched this year to meet the needs of the local manufacturing industry.

High school students in the program showed the preschoolers the robots they built and work with, and computer programs they use. It was an interactive experience as the young children got to make the robots move and perform other functions through voice commands. For example, their clapping made robotic mice race, and pressing a button in a computer program commanded a robot to pick up a ball.

It’s encouraging to see the C4 robotics and automation program off to such a good start, and for young children to get an up-close, early look at the applications of STEM fields.

The preschoolers learned about robots from students who could be older siblings — making building robots seem a little more possible — and were introduced to something they might find they have an interest in, which down the road could lead to a career. Meanwhile, the high school students had an opportunity to put their skills on display — a positive reinforcement of what they are learning in the program.

For both the older and younger students, this was a win-win opportunity.