Yesterday in San Isidro, within the bright, two-room office of NorthRobotics, nine children between the ages of 6 to 9 built LEGO robots during the company’s very first robotics class since returning from a long vacation. These classes give kids an opportunity to have an absolute blast while learning programming, physics, and logic: essential skills in today’s world of gadgets, gizmos, and technology.
“There’s not that many places in Buenos Aires offering something like this,” explains Veronica Gaiteiro Fraiz, the program’s director. “For a long time, it was hard to get the LEGO kits in Argentina.” Fraiz has been offering courses at NorthRobotics since 2015, when her son wanted to learn programming and an easy option simply wasn’t available. Now, she runs programs every week, helping children develop an understanding of programming at an early age.
In yesterday’s class, the students created small robots designed to clear obstacles from their path and respond to remote commands. The kids code the bots using picture-based software released by LEGO. “They use icons to program them,” says Fraiz, “they don’t need to know how to read or write… they can start programming right away.”
After two hours, the children have built, tested, and put away their robots, to be dismantled throughout the day by NorthRobotics staff. According to Fraiz, the students will return for three more classes before the next semester begins in March with a new teacher. “We’ll have more [children] in March and we’re adding classes in English with our new [American] teacher.” Each class includes new challenges and aims to develop the children’s programming skills a little further. For sure, it’ll take a little more than just LEGO to develop Argentina’s next Steve Jobs, but at NorthRobotics, a strong foundation is certainly being laid.
Want to learn more? Check out their website here. And no, they don’t take young adults whose niño interior is alive and kicking – trust me, I’ve tried.