"Every child should have time for arts, music, sports, drama, robotics, school newspapers and the like, not to mention recess and play."

Chris Gabrieli

Robolink has been teaching STEM (or STEAM), coding, and robotics lessons to over 3,500 students in San Diego, California.  STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  Some like to include an ‘A’ for the Arts. We’ve been delighted to educate the future stars of the STEM field, and treat this mission very seriously, because we believe there is immense room for improvement and growth in the field.

As an EdTech (education technology) startup that values the “entertainment” aspect of when students are learning, it’s very hard to set up one-size-fits-all lessons.  We’d like to make sure that students are learning the technical skills of robotics and coding, and just as importantly, are having fun while doing it. Today, for those teachers, parents, and volunteers who want to start STEM/Robotics Education from scratch, I wanted to share some of the lessons that we’ve learned.

  1. Set up a plan and define goals

There can be many different goals for robotics classes, but robotics is very broad. There’s a limited time for each class.  Typically Robolink has 1-hour or 2-hour weekly sessions for 8 – 10 weeks. You have to set up an attainable plan and goal before beginning instruction.

Here are examples of some goals you can set for robotics classes:

  • Learning the hardware fundamentals of robotics
  • Learning the software fundamentals of robotics
  • Joining/hosting a local competition. Something small, anything from a class competition to national competition.
  • Showing and sharing students’ projects at a science fair

Many times, it’s tempting to do many things at once, but with time constraints, it’s important to focus on a few tangible goals.


  1. Understand your students and find out what they find fun

Robotics is a very interdisciplinary field where various areas of expertise are needed, so it will be hard to do everything within a limited time period. The most straightforward way would be to divide it by hardware and software for younger students. The interests in robotics varies among students: some love hardware, some only want to code, and some love both. Teachers or leaders of the group should understand the demographics of the group to know what topics to focus on. The makeup of students for the class will depend on your area of focus, so try to gauge their interests as you move along.

The most important lessons that we’ve learned is that students’ productivity increases significantly when they are having fun. When students say “coding is fun” or “robotics is awesome”, it’s an incredibly rewarding experience for teachers.  It’s a crucial moment in a teacher’s career to have that initial experience of validation from one’s students—that’s when you know you’re getting through to them.

Children building with Rokit Smart in classroom

So understand the interests of your students and try to choose one area or just a couple areas that you can cover well, rather than trying to do everything within a limited time.  From personal experience, it’s better to cover a limited set of topics thoroughly than try to spread oneself too thin.

It’s very exciting to teach students robotics and STEM, but there are a lot of important decisions to make. On upcoming posts, I will cover (1) some of the kits out there that you can use for teaching and (2) competitions that you can have students participate in to stoke their creativity and critical thinking.

See you all soon!