National Robotics Week (RoboWeek) has a single goal: to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and of course, robots! 

We tend to think of robots as machines that think, walk, and talk like people — at least that’s how they’re usually portrayed in science fiction movies. But most robots are automated machines used in factories and warehouses to do routine tasks, like lifting and moving heavy containers, which can be dangerous for humans. 

Robots are also used to explore outer space. For example, a Mars rover is a small wheeled robot that can traverse rocky terrain, take photos, and collect samples for scientists so they can better understand the Red Planet, where NASA hopes to send astronauts someday. 

There really is no limit to what robots may be able to do, whether it’s performing complex surgeries or constructing buildings in outer space. As robots become more common, the world will need more experts who understand how to construct and work with these complex machines. 

Robotics engineers design and test robotic machines, and also develop the software systems that make them function. Since robots need to be very precise at performing specific tasks, robotics engineers spend long periods of time developing robots and working out the kinks in their designs. While it’s very rewarding and fascinating work, it takes a lot of patience and persistence to be a robotics engineer. Learn more about how to become one.

How to Celebrate RoboWeek

National Robotics Week is a great opportunity for kids to start learning and developing an interest in robots early. The week was designated by the U.S. government and is organized by iRobot, a U.S. technology company that designs and builds consumer robots.

There is no shortage of ways students and educators can celebrate this important week. Checkout RoboWeek’s website for a list of activities and online resources or to plan an event

Read other blogs on robotics with IEEE TryEngineering.