Computational thinking development through programmable robotics activities in STEM education in primary schools

Siu Cheung KONG, Chan-Chio LAO

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Programmable robotics activities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education have been postulated to have positive impacts on Computational Thinking (CT) development. This study aims to discuss how these activities in primary school STEM education should be designed to nurture students with CT abilities. According to Sullivan and Heffernan (2016), CT learning progression with robotics consists of four stages, namely sequencing, causal inference, conditional reasoning, and systems thinking. Three examples about auto-piloting a robotic car to 1) run a square, 2) run along the white track, and 3) slow down and stop when it detects an obstacle are designed to illustrate the learning progression. The first example provides opportunities for students to develop their abilities of sequencing and causal inference. The second example demonstrates how conditional reasoning can be developed. The third example shows how systems thinking can be established. Based on this learning progression for CT development, an outline of STEM education with programmable robotics activities in formal and non-formal learning in primary schools is proposed. The key is that problem-solving should be the core of these STEM activities. Students’ knowledge in STEM related subjects in primary schools like science, mathematics and programming should be applied and in turn being consolidated. Copyright © 2017 Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computers in Education. New Zealand: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education
EditorsWenli CHEN, Jie-Chi YANG, Ahmad Fauzi MOHD AYUB, Su Luan WONG, Antonija MITROVIC
Place of PublicationTaoyuan City
PublisherAsia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education
Pages984-989
ISBN (Print)9789869401265
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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Citation

Kong, S.-C., & Lao, C.-C. (2017). Computational thinking development through programmable robotics activities in STEM education in primary schools. In W. Chen, J.-C. Yang, A. F. Mohd Ayub, S. L. Wong, & A. Mitrovic (Eds.), Proceedings of the 25th International Conference on Computers in Education. New Zealand: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education (pp. 984-989). Taoyuan City: Asia-Pacific Society for Computers in Education.

Keywords

  • Computational thinking
  • Primary schools
  • Programming
  • Robotics
  • STEM education