Here at Trophy Robotics we believe that learners prefer to learn through playing. Therefore we are promoting the "hard fun" concept. The idea is to give learners a challenge and then lead them to a solution through practical application.
While we do spend time on theoretical concepts, like how gears and pulleys work, it is not our main focus. We rather have them learn through trial and error, explaining the concepts as we work on solving problems.
We focus on the use of LEGO equipment, but it is by no means the only equipment that we use. However, it is the most popular for everyone because it is very easy and fast to build with LEGO components. We are primarily using LEGO NXT and EV3 in our robotics classes and the LEGO mechanical systems for our mechanical classes. Again, these are hands-on classes. We expect the learners to get into the building and testing of machines. It is not our goal to build models for them (spoon feed); we rather have them building it with a little bit of help and support from the facilitators.
So just what do we do in classes?
That mainly depends on the age of the learners. We prefer to do a lot of building, especially creative building for foundation phase learners. While it is incredibly cool to build a model that someone has designed, we believe it is much more important for your child to learn to design on his own. Therefore in our classes we focus on 4 different aspects of development. That is:
- Building from detailed steps (which most learners can do very well)
- Building from key steps (this is where it gets a little bit tough)
- Duplicating models without steps - just by looking at it.
- Designing models (This is the creative part.)
During the foundation phase we may also use the WeDo sets from LEGO to start with coding, but we do not focus on it at all. (only in Vanderbijlpark)
From grade 4 upwards we mix our classes between:
- Building of mechanical models according to a plan
- Re-design model to a robotics model and program it, eg. build a mechanical arm, then re-design it to a robotic arm and program it to pick things up.
- Basic/advanced programming, depending on level of learner
- Design and program robots to solve specific tasks for competitions like Robofest; FLL; WRO and DestructoBots
- Every term will be new models/fields
Our main purpose is to create a healthy understanding of all the aspects of robotics without trying to specialize too much on just one area. We believe that by giving them the exposure to try out all of the different aspects, they will be much more motivated and inspired to try out subjects like Mathematics and Science in school and even be more motivated to become scientists and engineers.
Please understand that some challenges are really hard to do, and that includes the competitions too. It is not our intention however to force learners into competitions, but we believe that through competition and cooperation, they will develop much faster and gain much more knowledge.
Repetition of certain principles are also a strong focus point in our lessons.
Integration between mechanics and robotics is very important to us.