KinderLab Robotics, a leader in educational robotics for grades pre-K–5, today celebrated the success of PBS Reno’s Curiosity Classroom, a community outreach program that brings robotics to preschoolers through 4th-graders in seven counties in Nevada, at no cost. PBS Reno created its own robotics curriculum using KIBO, the screen-free STEAM coding robot from KinderLab. Since 2021, PBS Reno facilitators and KIBO have introduced 25,200 students to robotics and coding.
“We’re deeply impressed by the creativity of the team at PBS Reno,” said Mitch Rosenberg, CEO at KinderLab Robotics. “They’ve put together a rigorous and fun curriculum that allows their dedicated facilitators to bring playful STEAM activities to students who might not otherwise have the chance to experience age-appropriate programming during their formative years. In a very real way, they are changing the trajectory of these children’s lives.”
Serving learners in public, private, and charter schools, as well as homeschooling cooperatives, the Curiosity Classroom robotics curriculum aims to offer hands-on STEAM and coding lessons to students who may not otherwise have the opportunity.
“PBS Reno is unique in this service delivery model, and the program is growing by word of mouth among teachers,” said Joy Foremaster, Director of Education at PBS Reno. “One thing we really love about KIBO is that it’s screen-free. When we go into those rural areas where they don't have a computer for every student to use, having a robot that’s self-contained enables us to do so many more STEAM activities with those students.”
Over 40 facilitators, most of whom are former teachers and all of whom have prior classroom experience, held 787 workshops last academic year. This school year they have led 261 workshops so far, with a goal of 900. Each workshop includes a 45-60 minute lesson that adheres to state standards and includes a literacy component. With 225 KIBOs available, each student gets to spend hands-on time with their own robot.
“PBS Reno brings science that engages the students’ hands and minds,” said Brandy Ayers, a kindergarten teacher from Pinecrest Academy of Northern Nevada. “Twenty-six kindergarteners playing with 26 robots was totally amazing! This is something they will remember for a long time.”
In addition to workshops, PBS Reno Curiosity Classroom facilitators lead family nights featuring fun activities such as a space mission, in which students and their families program KIBOs to explore an alien planet, or dance parties where participants program the educational robots to boogie down with some music. After in-school workshops and family nights, the facilitators also send students home with fun activities to practice programming concepts with their families. One example is “program a family member,” in which students try to write a program using directions similar to KIBO’s coding blocks to direct a family member to move or dance a certain way.
“These workshops boost the kids’ interest in robotics and coding,” said Stephanie McMillen, a 3rd-grade teacher from CC Meneley Elementary School. “It teaches wonderful technology vocabulary and it provides for interdisciplinary connections. I love the content and the tech. Thanks for bringing such light to our day.”
KinderLab Robotics is the creator of the award-winning KIBO, a playful educational STEAM robot kit based on 20+ years of child development research with thousands of children, teachers, and parents. Developed specifically for teachers by Dr. Marina Umaschi Bers from Boston College, KIBO is currently used in 70+ countries and has proven efficacy in helping kids in Prek-5th grade learn STEAM—and getting them excited about it! KinderLab offers a complete suite of teaching materials that help integrate STEAM elements into a wide range of curricula, including art, cultural studies, and reading literacy. For more information, please visit KinderLabRobotics.com.
As of February 2022, PBS Reno Channel 5.1 is watched weekly by more than 113,000 people in approximately 62,000 households in northern and central Nevada and northeastern California, with viewership on multicast channels Reno Create 5.2 and PBS KIDS Reno 5.3. PBS Reno channels are also available on cable, satellite services, and via livestream on YouTube TV. PBS Reno provides PBS national programming and award-earning, locally-produced content. PBSReno.org provides engaging interactive content, including the video portal at watch.pbsreno.org/ that streams all locally-produced content and most PBS national content. PBS Reno serves students, teachers, parents and caregivers through immersive educational services including Curiosity Classroom Workshops that bring classroom lessons to life with standards-based lessons and watch.PBSReno.org activities. Through the support of local corporations and foundations, as well as thousands of individual members, PBS Reno has been delivering public television and educational services to the communities it serves since 1983.