WHO: Kristi Johnson (Mom), Cobyn (10) and Audrey (8)
WHAT: RobotiX Institute
WHERE: 1550 W. McEwen Drive, #300, Franklin (the Nashville location is at 4322 Harding Pike, #417)
WHEN: Classes are ongoing
ADMISSION: $120 for four sessions when you set up autopay; free trial sessions available
INFO: 615-721-2650 | rxiedu.com

On a recent Sunday morning, I took my two older children, Cobyn and Audrey, to a trial class at RobotiX Institute in Franklin. The class is far different than what I expected. I thought they might put together a simple pre-programmed robot with limited capabilities for a couple hours worth of entertainment. However, it's actually a highly involved, extremely educational, fascinating experience.

ATTENTION-GRABBING TECHNOLOGY

The children are each given their own dedicated workspace, complete with a laptop. They are set up with a Lego Mindstorm set and software to follow step-by-step instructions. After putting it together, they can completely customize the robot themselves using software on the laptop. They have the option to add specific sounds and faces on the electronic display. In addition, they can program movements and add infrared sensors. It was amazing to see how quickly they caught on to the technology and how it kept their attention.

Cobyn was fascinated with the programming aspect and interested in learning how to code different creations. With wonder in his eyes, he watched a young boy, who was a regular in the class, program a robot he had previously built. Audrey beamed with pride every time she successfully made her robot do something she had added to the software. It was a major confidence boost for her to see what she could accomplish.

STEM-BASED SKILLS

While we were there, we had the opportunity to watch a team of students, approximately Cobyn’s age, design a robot for an upcoming state championship. The team worked together to design, program and code a robot to accomplish different tasks required at the competition. It was amazing to see how involved this process is for such a young group.

Through the classes at RobotiX Institute, children learn advanced skills. The STEM-based classes engage kids in science, technology, engineering and math in a fun hands-on environment.  RobotiX Institute also has a location in Nashville. The program caters to students ages 5 - 17. Each child has the opportunity to work at his own skill level or together as a team based on skills and interests. Cobyn had so much fun, he's begging us to sign him up for classes!