During a workshop in a youth institution we worked with 8 teenagers for a 3 hour workshop. We were warned beforehand by the supervisors to pay attention to our stuff and that the teenagers could be troublesome. However, it was clear from the start that the Mindstorms were very popular with teenagers.
Building a city from scratch? With the world's smallest programmable robot? And 13 children between the ages of 5 and 10? Are we crazy to even consider this?
The DoIT workshops at the secondary school were centered around the theme of cycling. The students were asked to think about their bikes and how they would like to improve them in whatever way was important to them, be it safety, aesthetics, …
Because everyone loves Halloween, last year we organized a STEAM-Halloween camp for children between 8 and 12. Not only did we give them an introduction in robotics and programming, we also appealed to their story-telling skills. And because it was a Halloween-themed camp we challenged them to write a horror story that they would perform for their parents on the last day.
One of the DO IT projects of the primary school was a locker made entirely of cardboard. The students came up with a system to secure the locker by means of gears. Unfortunately, the first locker prototype didn't work as expected, because they had made the gears too small. Through trial and error they finally created the solution below, which uses a rotary sleeve to activate the mechanism.
In February we were asked by a type 9 (children with autism) secondary school to come up with a challenge after they had worked with the theme "On land, at sea, and in the air" in their STEAM classes. Therefore, we came up with a sailing cart challenge.
One of our requests for a workshop came from the Children's Cancer Fund, a non-profit that supports children with cancer and their parents, both financially and by organizing activities. The request came from a 14-year-old boy that suffered from an advanced stage of cancer. The boy loved to make games and he wanted to follow one more workshop about making games himself.
When children are inspired and interested, there is no stopping them. A small spark, that’s the only thing children need. It is up to us, as educators, to let that spark grow by providing opportunities and space. Space to grow in their own way, by choices they get to make.
It’s always the unexpected ones that come out the strongest. How many times have we not heard teachers or parents say in our workshop: “I didn’t expect that from him. Normally he’s very difficult and can’t keep up with the rest of the group” or “Wow, I didn’t know she had that in her.