How to organize a robotics club

    UPD: Published a new version of the manual.

    As promised, we share our experience in organizing classes. Here we describe the general principles: where to organize them, what is needed for this, how to recruit children, how to manage them better. We also make a small review of the available glands for robotics.

    Search for premises

    The easiest and most comfortable option is to go to some private club. There they will do everything for you, you just have to teach. Salary - about 400 p. per hour (in Yekaterinburg). Usually they don’t have enough good teachers, so even if you come from the street, there’s a great chance that you will be welcome.

    The second option is at some secondary school. Now all of them are without fail equipped with computer classes. There are various options for arranging classes. For example, now there is the discipline “Technology”, you can conduct classes within it, you can arrange it as a special course or a circle - which particular form you need to decide in private. Salaries in schools - about 200 p. (again, in Ekb.). The main trouble is this: in order to officially get settled you need to go for information, and in the process of training to draw up all sorts of curricula and reports, then the help of the school management and other teachers will be very useful. In general, leadership loyalty is very important, they should fully trust and promote you.

    The third option is various institutions of additional education (palaces of pioneers, palaces of children's creativity, stations of young technicians, etc.). In general, it’s the same as in schools, only for some reason there are fewer salaries there, and computer classes are far from everywhere, but there are fewer problems with bureaucracy.

    Another option is to organize something in your own office, mainly for employees' children.

    Found a place, what's next

    Next, you need to scout the base of potential students, to do this, find out how many students are in the upper grades of the surrounding schools, what their level is. For example, in rural schools, the situation is quite typical when the level of students is very low, and after 9th grade they all go to vocational schools, so there are no 10-11 grades at all, and the ninth grade level barely reaches the 6th grade level of good schools ; in such conditions it will be very difficult for you to organize something.

    Then, if there are enough students, you need to invite them to the circle. Sometimes it’s enough to post announcements around the school. We also practice trial classes: we bring the necessary pieces of iron to computer science lessons, and let us play with them. Thus, there is a better selection according to interests and abilities.

    How to teach

    Motivation. It is most important. Children should bury themselves in the monitor and bother you only when problems arise. In this case, you do not need any pedagogical abilities, it is enough to be able to explain; you don’t even need to convince them of the need to study some fundamental things, as soon as they are needed to achieve the goal, the children themselves will begin to beg to tell about them. So classes become no less interesting to you than children.

    At the initial stage, the main motive of schoolchildren is a natural interest in technology - the magic of converting lines on the screen into mechanical movement. This is the main property of educational robotics - this is the only technical area that is really interesting for children. In the first lesson at the very beginning, you need to show them something interesting so that they catch fire.
    Over time, primary interest fades, the main method of maintaining it is participation in competitions. If children develop excitement, then they already forget about everything.

    A less common option is to do something that has practical applications, such as elements of a smart home, and implement it.

    At first, children should definitely have a benefit, according to which they could do everything on their own. This is due to the fact that the speed of development for everyone is different, everyone will be at different stages, and it will be difficult to deal with everyone individually in the beginning. When they master basic things, creativity will begin. Then it will sometimes be possible to read general lectures and lead individual projects. Aerobatics - teach them how to use Google, and figure out everything on their own.

    Usually children are engaged in pairs, in one class - up to 14 people.

    What to teach

    Hard way: teach what you yourself are into. For example, our friend made himself a smart alarm at the cottage, and then, together with the schoolchildren, made the same alarm at their school (we will prepare a post with a story later). To do this, you yourself have to write a manual. No special skills are needed for this, if you can write good technical documentation, then you can write a manual without any problems, in fact it is one and the same. If you have chosen this path, you may be helped by good materials at .

    The option is simpler - buy special children's designers. Before choosing, go through the surrounding circles, look at what they are doing there, so that you can then compete with them (see the section on motivation).

    Overview of glands

    At first, we were going to make a full description of everything that is, but the task turned out to be too voluminous, so for a start we will give a general overview of what we encountered.

    The theme of glands in terms of holivariness can compete with the theme of various OSs, I'm afraid that it will not be possible to avoid this anyway, but we will try.


    Very expensive (the minimum set is 17K), the most common (almost a monopolist), with the most developed infrastructure (a bunch of courses, large-scale competitions), the easiest to learn.

    The main disadvantage is closeness and isolation from reality. The designer uses proprietary compounds that are not used anywhere else (the patents, however, have recently expired, but this has not affected practical use yet), their own programming language and development environment (although other languages ​​are supported in principle, no one actually uses them) , even the communication between electronic components goes through its own protocols.

    In general, ideologically, Lego is very similar to Microsoft, some Microsoft do not like.

    Leg-like constructors based on Arduino analogs

    Fischertechnik, Huna, perhaps there are some that we don’t know about. The price is lower, the quality is also slightly lower, the infrastructure is much less developed. But the electronics are all standard, you can buy something separately, more room for creativity.

    Separately, we mention Multiplo - an open source constructor. Unfortunately, so far, nobody has bothered with its production or supply, only to order online.

    Arduino-based mobile platforms

    Ready samoezdyaschie machines with sensors that collect and almost do not need, here , for example. Depending on the configuration, they can ride along any given trajectories, push each other, and do something else. The cost of one piece - from three and a half thousand. Work with them consists exclusively of programming.

    Raspberri Pi and analogues

    Raspberry has almost desktop Linux on board, thanks to this, all popular programming languages ​​are supported (python is the mainstream), you can start parallel processes, run them over the crown, connect different devices via USB, run different softwares, for example, for image processing, there are web server, in short, a complete set of joy ITshnik out of the box. Of the shortcomings - high power consumption (up to 5 watts), a higher price than arduino. We made our

    course at Raspberry, however now we look more towards open-source analogs, for example, BeagleBone - more powerful, less unnecessary things, such as different audio and video outputs.

    We don’t know the designers whose brains Raspberry would be in the database, we have to invent something ourselves.

    There are still various very expensive designers (much more expensive than Lego), but we did not consider them.

    In general, in our opinion, the most promising is Multiplo with some open source analogue of Raspberry or Arduino on board. We are trying to develop this particular area, we are looking for allies.

    We will be glad if those present share their experience at the expense of the glands, maybe someone has it even richer than ours. Yes, and at the expense of the rest, too.

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