On the 25th of October, 2019 we received a cosmic message. The PZU Foundation* has awarded us with a grant in their With PZU After Classes contest. We’ve been given a donation for the project called Journey to the Planet of Robots whose main purpose was to organise robotics workshops for the students of four primary schools in the Siedlce district (in Przesmyki, Paprotnia, Hołubla and Krześlin).
Why robotics? Because it’s the future ☺ It develops plenty of skills (logic thinking, teamwork, manual and technical skills), influences our lives, and its scope is really large. Let’s think about the self-driving vacuum cleaners that are so popular among Americans. IRobot Roomba is a revolution in cleaning. It collects the crumbs, it can even wash the floor, and in the case of a low battery level, it goes back to its charging dock. What more can one need? If someone (just like me) is obsessed with having a clean floor, then robotics applies to their lives as well!
What was the goal of our project? To show children the fascinating world of robots! The students from classes I-VII participated in one-off, pilot workshops where they could find out if artificial intelligence was a subject near and dear to their hearts. Our teenagers from the 8th grade were offered cyclic classes – 20 hours of machine building. Due to the project, 303 students got experience robotics – 241 children from classes I-VII and 62 8th-graders. Journey to the Planet of Robots had been prepared by Mały Inżynier (Little Engineer) from Siedlce who is an unquestionable leader in the field of programming on the Polish education market. Our contractor had offered children the following class topics: Rover, a race car, a guitar, a line follower, a cleaning robot and Milo.
We began our meticulously prepared journey one day in November 2019. We started with consultations in three schools (in Przesmyki, Paprotnia and Krześlin), which allowed not only the children but also their parents, who were visiting the schools, to come and see the machines built by Little Engineer! The robots were brought to life and set into motion. There was no end to the admiration. Imagine a modest construction made of LEGO bricks that suddenly comes alive and amazes everyone with its intelligence. Mankind has really reached a peak in the field of technology! Each informational meeting lasted three hours and attracted tons of admirers of technology news.
The one-off classes began on the 9th of December, 2019, at the school in Przesmyki, and ended on the 20th of January, at the school in Paprotnia. The opinions of students, teachers and principals were really positive. Who wouldn’t want to visit a planet inhabited by intelligent machines? We hope classes I-VII fell in love with robotics and will gladly come back to it later, in the professional life ☺
The classes for the 8th-graders started on the 19th of February, 2020, during the winter break. We successfully gathered the entire class of the school in Przesmyki. A really important person was present that day – Monika Półbratek – the journalist for Radio Eska. Thanks to her involvement, the project was mentioned four times on the radio and in an article on Eska’s website. Izabela Zientara (Managing Director of the Śmiałek Foundation), Anna Łęczycka (principal of the School in Przesmyki), Piotr Czarnocki (owner and coordinator of Little Engineer in Siedlce) and our 8th-graders had the pleasure of talking to editor Półbratek. The project was also mentioned on the website: zyciesiedleckie.pl.
Our interplanetary project was suspended on the 12th of March, 2020, when the schools were closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily, by taking proper precautions, we’ve managed to finish it in September. Today, we’re celebrating a huge success because over 300 students got to know the secrets of the wonderful discipline called ROBOTICS.
*you can read more about the PZU Foundation on www.fundacja.pzu.pl