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Robotics in the early childhood classroom: learning outcomes from an 8-week robotics curriculum in pre-kindergarten through second grade

Abstract

In recent years there has been an increasing focus on the missing “T” of technology and “E” of engineering in early childhood STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curricula. Robotics offers a playful and tangible way for children to engage with both T and E concepts during their foundational early childhood years. This study looks at N = 60 children in pre-kindergarten through second grade who completed an 8-week robotics curriculum in their classrooms using the KIWI robotics kit combined with a tangible programming language. Children were assessed on their knowledge of foundational robotics and programming concepts upon completion of the curriculum. Results show that beginning in pre-kindergarten, children were able to master basic robotics and programming skills, while the older children were able to master increasingly complex concepts using the same robotics kit in the same amount of time. Implications for developmentally appropriate design of technology, as well as structure and pace of robotics curricula for young children are addressed.

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Correspondence to Amanda Sullivan.

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Sullivan, A., Bers, M.U. Robotics in the early childhood classroom: learning outcomes from an 8-week robotics curriculum in pre-kindergarten through second grade. Int J Technol Des Educ 26, 3–20 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-015-9304-5

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Keywords

  • Robotics
  • Programming
  • Engineering
  • Education
  • Early childhood