Think Young Coding School, 2023: An Edventure into coding and robotics!

For the last 3 years, Edutab Africa has always been delighted to participate in the annual Think Young Coding School event that is aimed at introducing children between the ages of 8 and 16 to the exciting world of robotics and technology. In this year’s event, which happened on January 28-29 and February 4-5, the children learned about robotics and coding over four days, building and programming their own assembled robots and displaying their hard work in the grand finale.

Children exploring Edison robots.

On the first day, we introduced the learners to the world of robotics by showing three videos of robots in action: car manufacturing, parcel sorting, and health robots. After this activity, we split the children into two groups to work with either Edison robots or Lego robots. The initial activity of assembly of the robots of their choice. The creativity and imagination of these young minds were truly remarkable as they came up with different designs of robots executing different functions. 

 After the building of the robots, it was time to bring them to life by programming them with the LEGO Spike app and Edscratch. By the end of day two, the children were showcasing their newfound knowledge and skills in programming their robots with advanced features such as movement, turning, color sensing, distance sensing, pressure sensing, object detection, and avoidance of obstacles.

A group of children working together to build a robot using Lego Spike blocks.

They worked in groups, which was a brilliant method for the kids to experience the creative design thinking processes. It also gave a great opportunity for them to learn about core competencies like cooperation and collaboration as they worked together to build and program their robots.

On the third day, the children continued to build upon their previous projects, with some groups even starting over with new ideas. The results were amazing, with one group creating a cleaning robot that could sense walls and obstacles, another group creating a car that could sense colors and obstacles, and yet another group creating a moving robot with a pressure sensor, color sensor, and distance sensor. Another interesting one was a group that built up a war tank that can be used in peace operations. 

The fourth and final day was the highly anticipated presentation day, where the children showcased their hard work to the world. The children presented their robots to the parents and invited guests from the Boeing META team, the official sponsor of the event, US Embassy representatives, and the permanent secretary of the Ministry of ICT.

The achievements of the children were truly inspiring because most of the children had neither interacted with nor programmed robots. Among the many highlights of the event were the “aha!” moments that participants had as they learned how to code and use robots in relation to real-life applications, like in healthcare, logistics, or business. 

The step-by-step instructions and hands-on approach made it possible for everyone to participate and learn. The ease with which they were able to program and control the robots showcased their expertise in logical thinking.

Apart from robotics, students learned to make websites and create computer games with HTML, CSS, a little of Python, and JavaScript. They created amazing and interactive websites and games that they even practiced by playing. Finally, they learned how to fly drones and some of their applications in sectors like Agriculture, health and geo-mapping, and drone safety and precautions. Facilitators from Think Young and Drone Space led these sessions. 

A participant showcasing a website he made during coding school.

The joy and sense of accomplishment they felt were contagious. Students were not only able to develop problem-solving skills, but they were also able to become inventors, coders, and creative thinkers. All this was demonstrated at the graduation ceremony, where they showcased their unique talent and skills acquired during the duration of the school. 

The Think Young Coding School was a resounding success. With the children’s enthusiasm for coding being contagious, it was a joy to see their creativity and imagination come to life. We look forward to seeing their incredible future achievements in the field. See you all on the 18th edition!

Written by Jane Kimani and Victor Mmulah