Frequently Asked Questions...
How do Problem-Based Learning and Open-ended Challenges help my child? Can it keep an advanced student challenged and engaged? What do you mean by tailoring talented students? What Qualifications and Experience Do Your Instructors Have? Students to instructors ratio? Group size? What if classes are canceled under inclement weather? Process with students allergies What is the programs' fee?About Robotics Club...
Am I required to purchase a robotic kit to join roboclub? Where can I buy the hardware and software? Will my child be able to advance right to the next level every term or advanced group? How SR's Robotics Club different from other conventional robotics program? Which level should my child start from? How long does it take to move from one level to another? Will I receive Performance Reports throughout the terms?About Summer Camp (Workshops)...
Are your Summer classes mostly theoretical or involving hands-on? What do they usually do in summer classes? I am all new to this. Need help to choose. What is the typical routine for day in RoboCamp? My child wishes to join the same workshop module this summer. Will he/she repeat the same thing like last summer ?About Competition Groups...
<Under Construction >About RVMG Math Contest...(majority of the comment from this section is from RVMG)
Why a student scores well and still is not be invited to join RVMG? Get I get an exception to join the group or reschedule a test if I cannot make it to a test date? How is this contest different from many others out there? What is the value of doing another contest, since my child was not selected at the last competition? Do you have any recommendation how I should prepare for it?
Select the questions on the left to view answers.
What is the programs' fee?It depends on which track and levels. Here is a link to the cost of all most school year programs.
What is your students-to-instructor ratio? How large are your groups?The student-to-staff ratio in our programs ranges from four to eight students per instructor, depending on the grade level. In most classes, especially for the lower grades, students work in teams of two to learn teamwork. This encourages the students to speak out and discuss their ideas.
Can your program keep an advanced student challenged and engaged?Absolutely. With our year-round robotics and technology education programs, we facilitate challenges for skill levels ranging from novice to experienced, with the goal of providing technical challenges that will stretch each child's potential. Some of our programs provide advanced engineering and computer science concepts that are challenging even to college engineering students.
Where can I purchase the hardware and software?For most students who use Mindstorms, they will need to invest on the LEGO Mindstorms robotic kit, and the software called RobotC. If you are interested in buying your own equipment, visit our Roboclub Resource Page.
What do you mean by tailoring talented students?All of our programs are application/project-based and designed to promote higher-order thinking. Our projects are geared for students who:
What happens when classes are canceled due to inclement weather?If we need to cancel meetings or classes because of inclement weather:
How do you accomodate students with allergies or other medical issues?To protect students with food allergies, we follow a careful food protocol.
How do Problem-Based Learning and Open-ended Challenges help my child?Problem-based learning is an approach that challenges students to learn by solving problems. This is one of the best ways to stimulate thinking and also drives understanding. Just as important, it encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning. Open-ended challenges and goal-oriented projects inherently require a PBL approach, which makes learning truly effective. Students constantly exercise lateral thinking, and learn that there is no a single way to solve a problem. What makes it rewarding and fun is working hands-on to figure out the most effective solution. In doing so, students develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills without even noticing all the hard work they are doing. Robotics is an excellent tool for this type of learning because it is a visible, tangible application. Our instructors are trained to grab students' interest and run with it to sustain their interest, inherently stimulating and strengthening their problem-solving and mathematics skills.
When will my child be able to the next level or to an advanced group?All our programs are divided into complexity levels. Students are allowed to advance to the next level only when they demonstrate a better-than-satisfactory level of understanding at their current level. We do not follow a social promotion model. By the same token, students will not be confined to a class if they demonstrate a level of understanding well beyond the rest of the class. Even within a term, when such a situation arises, we proactively contact parents to recommend that their children be moved up to the most appropriate level. Our advanced groups are reserved for students who have demonstrated a mastery of many lower levels.
Are your Summer classes mostly theoretical or involving hands-on?All our Summer workshops involve hands-on learning, from 100% software development (i.e. computer programming with computational thinking), to mostly electronic. The key is “Learn By Doing”. All programs with names like “Robotics and <such and such>” will involve hands-on work including both software programming and mechanical building. Since we focus on developing engineering strength in automation and Artificial Intelligence, we heavily focus on engineering discipline in software design.
What do they usually do in each workshop?We do offer quite a multitude of programs, ranging from Gr.4 to 12, from simple programming and building tasks to college computer science and embedded system work. Tasks in workshop will depend on the students’ skill level, and interest All upper grades are going to be far more specific in terms of what they would learn in each session. Therefore, it will be best to isolate which ones that a student wanted:
I am all new to this. Need help to choose.We do offer quite a multitude of programs, ranging from Gr.4 to 12, from simple programming and building tasks to college computer science and embedded system work. Tasks in workshop will depend on the students’ skill level, and interest.
My child wish to join the same workshop module this summer. Will he/she repeat the same thing like last summer?No one repeat what they demonstrate the required understanding. Since all of our programs involve open-ended challenges, students will opportunity to learn more advanced concepts to apply more sophisticated solutions for a project. How much more they will learn? It depends on how much knowledge he/she retents, of course. Most new found knowledge will need pre-established knowledge. If a student forgot past learnt materials, he/she will have the opportunity to review them. If a student demonstrated the understanding to the needed concept, he/she will move onto a more challenge ones.
Am I required to purchase a robotic kit to join roboclub?No, we provide robotics kits at the center. SR does not require children to have their own kits unless they have chosen to advance to more sophisticated projects or participate in competition. All SR-provided materials must remain at the center. Parents may choose to purchase a kit for use at home. Many of our young students demonstrate that they can retain a great deal of basic knowledge and apply it with ease without owning a kit for practice at home. Others have great difficulty applying what they have learned even if they have their own kits. Students who have difficulty at the beginning often find that practicing at home drastically improves their performance. A robotics kit along with the proper software costs about $400. Students who continue with Storming Robots for more than two or three terms have generally demonstrated a sustained interest in robotics that would make investment in a kit worthwhile. Parents of children who are new to robotics may well wish to wait to see if their children have a long-term interest before making such an investment. SR collects information from parents who are interested in selling their old Mindstorms sets at a lower cost. Please contact our office for further information. Please contact our office via Contact us for further information.
How is SR's Robotics Club different from many other robotics programs?At Storming Robots, we bring system engineering to the grade-school level. Many of our students join us when they are in elementary school and continue with SR until they leave for college, often traveling up to an hour each way to participate in our programs. We provide an application-based learning structure that encourages creative thinking, a skill that helps students transition smoothly to college and stay competitive in any career they choose. Our model prepares students to advance in college engineering studies, such as computer science, artificial intelligence, computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. The achievements of our Robotics Club members in tournaments are a testament to the effectiveness of our model. Our programs offer a continuous learning roadmap that students follow from grade 4 to 12. Programs for students in grades 8 to 12 usually involve projects that require algorithmic and computational thinking and analysis. We provide detailed guidance for students who have been with us for several years, creating individualized roadmaps for their four years in high school based on their personal learning style, interests, strengths and weaknesses. We have found that this helps students to define themselves clearly and boosts their competitiveness in the college application process.
Will my child be able to join competition teams after a few terms?Only those who have met the given criteria. As students entering high school years, the requirements will be much more demanding, especially in their software development/design , problems solving, and trouble shooting skills, as well as teamwork. Entering competitions with Storming Robots is at the Administration's discretion.
Can I have makeup session?
We highly encourage students to be committed to the robotics classes schedule and not to miss a class unnecessarily. Our strength is to stay fluid with each individual group's interest and learning in order to allow the fullest learning potential. Due to the nature of team work, it causes disruption to others. In addition to open-end challenge environment, group discussions, thought stimulation among members, interaction with partners, etc., are all different from class to class. It is almost impossible to replicate with another class. Purpose of any makeup session is to ensure students to catch up with class pace, "not" to make up hours. Without proper skills set and maturity, it is not productive to seat-in another classroom to make up 2 hours of work on your own. For non-advanced groups, it is far more productive that instructor provides extra assistance to the student for catching up. No makeup sessions will be neccessary for lower level students. Please review details on makeup sessions.
What Qualifications and Experience Do Your Instructors Have?As a year-round educational facility focusing in robotics engineering, Storming Robots employs instructors and assistants who are engaged in robotics throughout the school year. This allows us to provide an exceptional level of experience and competency in the subject matter compared with other pre-college institutions. Our instructors include:
You may view the center schedule at our Calender Page.
At Which level should my child start?Most children should start at the beginning level. For example, a child in sixth grade should join the group "Gr. 4-6: B & I." , i.e. Beginning and Level I. Each group is given projects with multiple complexity levels. When children demonstrate that they have mastered a certain level, we reassign them to another group that we deem will offer an appropriate challenge. Similarly, if we find that a child is having far too much difficulty in a group, we will move him or her into a lower level group. There is always an opportunity to move up, and we try to avoid putting children in situations where we may have to move them down.
How long does it take to move from one level to another?All students move at their own pace and are grouped by their performance, not by the amount of time they have spent on a level. Please bear in mind that students do not automatically move up a level each term. The higher the level a student is in, the longer it will take to move up to the next level.
Will I receive Performance Reports ?Storming Robots provides the following performance reports at the end of Fall and Spring Term. Winter: Only those who experience great difficulty in catching up or have other issues that require parental intervention will receive a report. In such cases, students will most likely receive a report much before the end of the Winter term.
The final product that your child built in class/workshop is a genuine robotic contraption which contains electronic components, as well as requires programming software in order to keep it functioning in the future.
You child has done the programming on a PC and downloaded it to their robots at the center in order to mobilize them.
In order to let the child take home the robot, the fee to you will also need to not only include the cost of the robot, but also the proper programming software as well. Just the components and the software alone will cost you more than $200. To add that cost to the individual workshop fee to you is simply not sensible.
Why a student scores well and is still not be invited to join RVMG?One difficult challenge : With limited resources, how to enhance the learning/mathematical growth of a wide range of kids, albeit all "talented" in math? Right now the RVMG focus is on fairly high level math candidates, i.e. AMC-12/ AIME level. Undoubtedly there is a big need for options for those below that level yet much more capable than the typical school math offerings. RVMG recognize that there are "enrichment" programs out there in the schools, high ability/high interest math kids are grossly underserved. Thus, we hope this RVMG Contest will open more opportunity for these levels of students. Furthermore, in this or any other competitions with AMC/AIME level questions, full scores are extremely uncommon. However, the answers given will show RVMG where the contestant fall in their math level. While RVMG would love to have several qualified for RVMG, it is also possible that none will if they do not meet the exceptional level which RVMG requires. Raritan Valley Math Group, RVMG, is NOT looking for a set number of students to qualify, but for students who have demonstrated the high caliber required.
Unfortunately, you will have to wait until the next test date. There two tests periods - September and March. RVMG is run by all volunteers. All volunteers have multiple commitments and busy schedule. Besides, RVMG receives ongoing inquiries from others interested almost every month. Thus, it is not feasible for RVMG to grant exceptions. If your schedule is too busy to take the test on the designated date, not be dismayed. There are excellent learning materials online such as the Art of Problem Solving site. They offer a wide range of online courses, books, e-learning and archives of the MAA tests and solutions. You will be able to tailor the classes to your family's schedule and choose just the right level of topics that meet your child's current needs and interests.
How is this contest different from many others out there?First of all, the goal of this contest is not competing against other ones. On the contrary, we are adding more opportunities for others. Besides, this new competition is meant to offer students an entirely different and fuller experience, with prizes in multiple categories: high school, middle school, and exposure to technology. The intention is to make it more of a fun experience all in context of “problems solving” and analysis. To add on the fun, the competition is followed by Sudoku challenge, chess challenge, as well as opportunities to observe the robotics automation with a Spiderbot project, and A.I. algorithm presentations. We anticipate all will be highly engaging in an atmosphere where fun and hardwork goes together. There is also an hour of open forum after the award ceremony. This is where students will have the opportunity to discuss possible solutions to the contest problems - further valuable reinforcement.
What is the value of doing another contest, since my child was not selected at the last competition?We want to emphasize that this competition serves the value beyond just the possibility of joining RVMG. We want to build the culture of “PROBLEM SOLVING AND MATH ARE REALLY JUST ANOTHER COOL THING TO DO!”. It is part of fun, not some task requiring deliberate attention, or preparation. Do note that this contest is followed by technology as well, such as robotics automation, and listen to a couple of basic A.I. algorithms presentations. We hope that exposure to new challenges, experiences and math/engineering activities will be inspiring for the students.
Do you have any recommendation how I should prepare for it?In general, students are recommended to have high proficiency in Algebra 1. However, it is truly falling mainly in problem solving skills, unlike the routine problem sets usually encountered in typical school math or “Kumon” programs. Look at other math competition test questions like AMC-8/AMC-10/AMC-12. The RVMG will not be using their questions, but you will get a sense of the level. Of course, if they have acquired the tools of algebra, geometry, number theory, counting, statistics, etc., it will better equip them to dig into those more challenging problems. On the other hand though, some students, even with a minimal background, are able to puzzle through and arrive at a solution.