If it were up to students at the 7e Montessori School in Amsterdam, robot manufacturers and AI engineers would be in the hot seat  if the robots they used to produce food made people sick.

On June 28th, NewTechKids taught a special robotics and coding and robotics workshop to help celebrate the end of the school year. Students ages 9-12 discussed the key role that the Netherlands plays in global food production and then designed, built and programmed a series of farming robots.

We talked about farming in the past vs. now, why farmers use robots (no time off, long shifts, no vacation, no risk of exposure to harmful pesticides or danger, etc.) Interestingly, most kids said they would rather work with humans than robots if they were farmers.

Montessori students are definitely wired differently and we discovered this in a good way. They were curious, focused and with a little instruction from us, really tried to figure out what the programming could do. Some teams (of 3) had challenges in deciding on the type of robot they would design but in the end, all of them had working prototypes.

More moments of learning new knowledge and skills required for the 21st century need to embedded in primary school education. By combining critical thinking with computer science education and structured design processes, we can nurture the next generation of innovators and tech inventors. Like these students.