Engineering at more advanced levels builds on previous experiences and competencies obtained in the lower levels. For example, all Intermediate-Level Robotics programs require:
(1) Understanding Engineering concepts learned in Beginner-Level Robotics programs
(2) Math skills consisting of at least the 5th grade level or higher
In order to succeed with more complex concepts, students will need an understanding of both Engineering mechanisms and the ability to apply the math skills they learn in school. Students that are older will likely progress through the curriculum faster and implement more complex designs than younger students; but they will still require exposure to Beginner Engineering concepts prior to enrolling at Intermediate or higher levels.
Curricula in many school systems require that the same lesson plan is taught to every child in the class. While this guarantees that no child is left behind, the NEXTGEN4 Curriculum is designed to be customized for each student according to their experiences, interests, and capabilities. These customizations are implemented through increased technical complexity and require the use of higher level of math.
In this way, a child that is in second-grade that has learned addition and subtraction is able to change and modify their project at their level. Further, it also enables a student that is in fifth-grade to use their skills in division and ratios; a student in eighth-grade to apply geometry; and an 11th-grader to use algebra, trigonometry, and more.
For each lesson, there is a "Core-Level" of basic project instructions, plus a series of four or more increasingly complex modifications. If a child completes the Core project (which they most likely should), that is fantastic and we celebrate their success! If a child requires greater challenge, they will be asked to implement a first-modification, then a second, and a third, and so on. These "Mods" (as we call them) become more technically complex and require higher levels of math.
Over time, more and more instructions are taken away and each student is asked to utilize what they had learned in previous weeks and to design and create their own solution to a problem. This enables our students to progress at their level, in the manner that they learn best. Students create, design, and implement their own ideas. At this level, our Teacher is there to advise and help them to achieve the goals they set out for themselves. Through this process, we find that our students continue to be motivated, inspired, and excited to learn as they achieve their own successes.
Engineering is complex. The mechanisms can be intricate, The math can be Greek (literally) at times. NEXTGEN4 effectively truncates the complexity of projects to the level of the child by asking students to create their own goals and design their own solutions to problems.
For example, our BattleBots Robotics course is designed for Ages 7-Adult. During the lesson about Catapults, one student may just be able to get through building, coding, and controlling their Catapult to throw their projectile as provided by the Core instructions. Another student may recognize that the design of the Catapult that they are provided is not a good one and will modify it. Another may learn about Torque, Momentum, and Counterweights. Still another may learn the equations of Projectile Motion and begin to predict exactly where their projectile will land. Our Educators have implemented this process for each lesson and every project in Robotics, Coding, Circuits, Engineering, and other programs, ensuring that each child is able to achieve success at their level.
Our courses in Robotics, Coding, Engineering, and Electrical Circuits are designed for children ages 4-years old and up. The risk of teaching material that is too complex for a child is that they begin to believer they are not capable or are not smart enough to learn Engineering. Instead, NEXTGEN4 helps kids achieve success at their level. We utilize themes like SuperHeroes, Minecraft, and Star Wars to create scenarios and projects that kids get excited about. Our goal is not to turn every child into an Engineer. Rather, by exposing children to STEM concepts, our students see that learning is fun and that they have the capability to achieve more than they thought possible.
If this is your child's first time learning with NextGen SmartyPants, we recommend registering for the "Introduction to NextGen Course." This is a 4-week course in Robotics and Coding and is designed to expose your child to STEAM education and see if our program is the right fit for them at this time.
If your child is already excited about a particular topic (for example, LEGO Building or Coding, etc.), we suggest starting with what that and then moving to different subjects from there, according to the Learning Dashboard above. Just be sure they complete courses in each of the Technology Subjects going across before moving up to a higher level.
Finally, if your child is completely open without a preference for a particular topic, take a look at a course in Robotics at their age and experience level.
Setup a time with a NextGen SmartyPants Curriculum Advisor and we will be happy to answer every question you or your child has, as well as, help create a customized learning plan specifically for your child. Call us at (860) 272-4000 or email us at email@example.com.