Robotics Programs at WAB – Preparing our Students for the Future

Fact of the day: robotics is so much more than just building devices that move around on command. It is a learning tool that taps into a wide range of subjects, such as science, technology, math. It also requires skills like good communication, teamwork, and even proposal writing. Robotics has strong academic applications and is fast becoming an integral part of many industries. That is why Western Academy of Beijing is continuously investing in Robotics to offer our students the most relevant program possible. 

Robotics in Elementary School 

At WAB, students have access to great robotics and coding opportunities from an early age. In Elementary School, Grade 2 students get hands on experience in the fundamentals of coding using Bee Bot robots and Dash Bots. In Grades 4 and 5, they construct and code mBots by Makeblock. These are designed to build students’ interest in STEAM topics, cultivating their skills through project-based learning and collaboration, enhancing their analytical problem-solving skills.

Robotics in Middle School

Robotics is offered as an After School Activity (ASA) for all students, running for 4 hours a week over 2 seasons. The ASA is focused on engineering, computational thinking, programming, problem solving, and teamwork. These students will then form into teams and participate in the Annual ACAMIS (Association of Chinese and Mongolian International Schools) FLL Robotics Competition.

We also offer a Robotics Unit to all our Grade 8 students. This unit starts off as an Interdisciplinary Unit (IDU) with Maths and Design where students have to use both Geometry and Computational Thinking to put together a program for a robot to either complete a Maze or team up with another robot to complete a synchronized Robot Dance using EV3 Lego Mindstorms Robots. Listen to our podcast about this here.

After this unit, students will do a Design unit which is focused on incorporating sensors into the robots so that the robot can act completely automatously and react to changes in its environment. Students will then pick a sensor-based challenge that they will then need to get their robot to complete. These activities allow the students to go deeper into programming concepts such as If statements, variables, loops and conditional loops.  More details on the range of challenges can be found on our Robotics Unit website here.  

Robotics in High School

In high school we use Lego Mindstorms in Grade 10 Design. Students use it to develop their computational thinking skills (abstraction, decomposition, pattern recognition and algorithms) by programming robots to complete certain tasks. It is also a great way for students to go through multiple design cycles in one lesson to solve a problem.

Students can also take part in the VEX Robotics ASA program, which starts with a basic introduction to engineering to help students build their first robot. As they are building their first robot they will learn about different types of motors, gears and actuators. Once the robot is built, they will move on to programming the robot to make it perform certain tasks. Listen to our podcast about VEX Robotics to learn more.

All students are welcome to join any of the robotics clubs at WAB; all they need is an interest in robotics. Once they are exposed to different aspects of building and programming a robot, they can choose to specialize in any area they want to pursue.

What’s next for Robotics at WAB?

The next steps for WAB is to make sure that Robotics continues to be relevant to what is happening in the world around us. This requires continued investment. As a next step, we plan to get additional VEX Robotics kits so that what students learn in MS Robotics can be taken to the next level in HS Design. VEX robotics will open up this next level for students, offering them more opportunities to explore engineering and computer science.

How you can Support Robotics at WAB

On Saturday, September 24, WAB is hosting the first student-club co-organized art gala. A portion of the funds raised will be directly invested in our Robotics program. Please support this relevant cause by coming to the gala. More information and tickets can be found here.