Robotics with Community Engagement


Since Fall 2023, our team has planned a service-learning & engagement activity on the topic of robotics for young learners in our community. This project aims to provide more experiential opportunities in robotics for children in the community. We have collaborated with a community partner, Imagination Station, in Lafayette, Indiana. Our first activity plan was presented in the 'Trustworthy AI Lab for Education Summit' at Notre Dame University on December 1st, 2023. Thereafter, by continuing to communicate with our community partner, we have updated our plan and presented the updated one at the 'Engagement and Service-Learning Summit at Purdue' on February 29, 2024. After finalizing our preparation, we implemented our first robotics program with our community partner on April 7th, 2024. Our team is planning to imeplement the same project in the future.

Main activities:


Kids first explored the basic principle of algorithms by listing the order of the cards. By inputting the order of commands to the robot one by one, kids could see whether the robot moved to the goal in the right direction, which was the Cheese. Kids iteratively revised their commands to solve each problem and procedurally solved three main challenges. Throughout the problem-solving activities with robotics, kids experienced the basic principles of Computational Thinking (CT), such as abstraction, decomposition, and algorithms.

The three main activities were:

  • Unplugged activities
  • Robotics with procedural algorithmic thinking
  • Debugging for problem-solving

Relevant presentations and publications

Huang, W., & Yu, W. (2022). CARE project. Service learning grant for Community Service / Service Learning Project at Purdue University.

Kang, S., & Yu, W. (2024, February 29). Reflection on the growth of graduate students: From engagement & service-learning experiences [Conference presentation]. Engagement and Service-Learning Summit at Purdue, West Lafayette, IN, United States. https://www.purdue.edu/engagement/summit/

Yu, W., Kang, S., & Huang, W. (2023, December 1). C.A.R.E (computer science, artificial intelligence, robotics, and emerging technologies) @ Purdue [Conference presentation]. Trustworthy AI Lab for Education Summit, Notre Dame, IN, United States. https://lucyinstitute.nd.edu/trustworthy-ai-lab-for-education-summit/