Today, NewTechKids kicked off a week of classes for kids ages 8-12 which will encourage students to think critically about how technology can be used to screen and monitor the Coronavirus and help people who contract it.

We started with a class this afternoon at an Amsterdam primary school where we teach a weekly computer science program for kids ages 10-12.

We began with students talking about the symptoms of the Coronavirus and ways to minimize the risk of contracting the virus: frequent hand washing, social distancing (staying away from groups of people) and coughing and sneezing into one’s elbow.

We then discussed some of the technology being used to combat the virus: thermal imagingdrones in China which issue warnings to people who aren’t wearing masks, robots which disinfect hospital equipment, and robots which deliver food and supplies to quarantined people.

We then challenged students to come up with tech prototypes which will help protect people or detect people with the Coronavirus.

The point was not to develop medically-sound or technologically-advanced prototypes. The point was to encourage students to apply their critical thinking and judgement, knowledge of computer science and programming and imagination to create solutions to a real problem. We provided them with a chance to exercise their computational thinking skills: thinking about how humans can solve a problem with computers and computation.

Some of the results: an automated hand washing machine, a snot detecting robot which announces ‘Coronavirus detected’, and machines with sensors which detect high temperatures and which administer needles. (For videos, check out NewTechKids’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

Stay tuned for more inventions by students at Dutch and international schools this week.