Mindstorm to Brainstorm – An example of cooperation between European Schools in STEM education
Over the recent years, the introduction of robots in learning situations (Educational Robotics) has established itself as an emerging pedagogical tool in addressing various curriculum subjects (Mathematics, Physics, Technology Education or even expressions and Arts) in different age levels particularly in universities, polytechnics and vocational education which are held various competitions such as the First Lego League (FLL) and the RoboCup Junior.
Because we believe it is important that the teaching of robotics begins in the early years of schooling schools St.Joseph’s Primary School, Tyrella, Downpatrick – United Kingdom, E.B. 1 António Vitorino, Vieira de Leiria – Portugal, Scoala nr 17 “Pia Bratianu”, Bucharest – Romania, Csabrendeki Általános Iskola, Csabrendek – Hungary, ICS di Villorba e Povegliano – Plesso Secondaria di I Grado “Scarpa” di Villorba, Villorba (TV) Italy e Fatmahanim Ilkokulu, Pamukova – Turkey built together the project “Mindstorm to Brainstorm” with the support of Erasmus +, which has as main goals:
- Introducing robots in learning situations in the classroom;
- Improve the knowledge of our students in code and in programming robots (LEGO and others);
- Provide students with skills to solve a problem posed by other students of partner schools;
- To improve their STEM skills in general;
- To bring STEM subjects/carrier closer to girls;
- To encourage our pupils to develop their basic entrepreneurial skills.
The Mindstorm to Brainstorm project seeks to show that the introduction of robotics in the early years of schooling helps young students find different strategies to solve problems, promote reasoning and critical thinking in an active way, also raise levels of interest and student motivation for matters sometimes complex.
Several authors argue that the introduction of robots in learning situations act as a huge source of energy and motivation for students and teachers who come into contact with these activities.
Zapata et al.  consider the educational robotics as a teaching tool that:
- Creates interesting and motivating learning environments;
- Puts the teacher’s role as facilitator of learning and the student as an active constructor of learning;
- Promotes curricular transversality where diverse knowledge enable you to find the problem for the solution that works;
- Allows you to establish relationships and representations.
After a few months of implementation, we can say that we see some results in the performance of our students in terms of motivation and enthusiasm that leads to some of them wants to continue to work during breaks and after school hours, to develop skills in collaborative work and group and the development of creativity and imagination in the creation and construction of prototypes and solutions to the problems presented.
Teachers involved agree that educational robotics is undoubtedly a multidisciplinary and transversal area that can be applied to disciplines of STEM area but also in other areas related to the arts such as music, dance or plastic arts. Promotes project-based learning where students are active subjects and decision makers and engages teachers in the search for new tasks and new challenging projects.
The use of robots as teaching tools stimulates children’s minds and help them to learn while having fun. As a result, students become active and more critical thinkers, problem solvers and take independent decisions of the adult / teacher.
This project has contributed to the creation of Robotics Clubs in different schools and is open to other interested schools. Some of its activities can be followed in https://twinspace.etwinning.net/11994/home
Mindstorm to Brainstorm will have great importance for schools as it may serve as an example and encourage other teachers to develop similar projects.
José Soares, Scientix Deputy Ambassador – Portugal
 Zapata, G. et al ( ). La Robótica Educativa como Herramienta den Apoyo Pedagógico. (URL:http://scholar.google.pt/scholar?q=LA+ROB%C3%93TICA+EDUCATIVA+COMO+HERRAMIENTA+DE+APOYO+PEDAG%C3%93GICO&hl=pt-PT&btnG=Pesquisar&lr=)
Article written by: José Soares, Scientix Deputy Ambassador