Child-robot theater: Engaging elementary students in informal STEAM education using robots

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Department of Computer Science


One of the options to make science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) more accessible, especially for children, is to integrate STEM content into more attractive materials and familiar formats. In this line, by integrating STEM with arts and design, we have created an afterschool program, “Child-Robot Theater” for children in a rural elementary school. We administered two programs over two years and in total 37 children participated in the two-phase program, from which 23 children were included in the analysis of this study. We infused the contents of science, robotics, and computer science with acting, dancing, singing, and drawing inspired by the theater production. Through this longitudinal research, we have successfully demonstrated the informal outreach program with the robots in the wild and achieved improvements in making a robot theater program. After briefly introducing our pedagogical framework and procedure, we delineate potential impacts, lessons, and recommendations for future works. We believe that our efforts could stimulate diverse discussion and practice of using robots and theater for STEAM education across the science, art, and education communities.

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IEEE Pervasive Computing