Brooklyn ‘bots: NYC program introduces kids to STEM skills

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BROOKLYN, N.Y. — A New York City program hoping to get the younger generation interested in a career in STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] put the opportunity in their hands Wednesday, teaching them to build their own robots out of a small box.

Dr. Meghan Groome is the vice president of Programs for NYC First, the organization helping to provide “Robot In A Box” to the students at the New Lots Brooklyn Public Library on Wednesday.

“The robots are what really draw kids in, but what they come in to learn about it is creativity, engineering, design thinking, and really importantly, the key jobs for the future,” Dr. Groome said.

Jobs in STEM have been reported to be more available than those interested in filling them, and igniting that interest in a career path now seems to be working.

“I think it’s cool,” Matthew Rosa, a student, said. “It’s definitely complex but simple at the same time. I think it’s something I would do in the future.”

“I like that you get to code and control things like robots and other things like that — and you also get to build stuff,” 10-year-old Isabella Smith said.

The boxes have multiple components, so kids can use those same materials over and over to create many different robots.

“When you learn about robotics, it’s not just about the robot,” Dr. Groome added. “It’s about mechanical engineering, computer programming, artificial intelligence.”

They’re learning about the power needed to drive a robot, circuits, and how to build the body.

“I made a robot out of a cereal box and I used a motor and wheels and some wires to make the wheels move,” Smith said.

Even though they have a while to decide on what they want to do, the wheels are turning.

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