Robots & Science for Kids at the Border Refugee Crisis

“Thank you, I like!” — program participant

The Field Innovation team joined St. PJ’s Children’s Home International Program for a two-week deployment to develop a new, innovative recreational program curriculum. FIT volunteers from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise collaborated with direct care staff to ensure our activities met the needs of the International Program population – we ideated and adjusted the programs real-time to bring the best forward-thinking activities to the children. The curriculum areas include Art, Science, Innovation 101, Spontaneous Village (an improvisation theater-based program), and a Robotics Petting Zoo. Our activities focused on building community, encouraging empathy, learning how to think “loco” and out-of-the-box, developing new non-verbal communication skills, and fostering positive leadership development. Most importantly, we helped the children see that even though they have long been grownups in terms of their decision-making, responsibilities, and actions they can benefit greatly from creative programming. (Read rest of the article here.)

As the lead on the science-related programing, I designed content that would be easily digestible, facilitated training sessions for the staff, and worked with the kids to explore various concepts in science and robotics. Given the uncertainty around available resources, this required iterating quickly and refining activities on-the-go in the field. Most of the kids did not speak English and had very little background knowledge, so we had to devise unique ways to communicate complex scientific content through compelling visuals and hands-on demos.

Role: Science Program Designer/Lead


Program & Curriculum DevelopmentTeaching KidsRobotics EducationScience Education