A child-robot musical theater afterschool program for promoting STEAM education: A case study and guidelines


With the advancements of machine learning and AI technologies, robots have been more widely used in our everyday life and they have also been used in education. The present study introduces a 12-week child-robot theater afterschool program designed to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education with art elements (STEAM) for elementary students using social robots. Four modules were designed to introduce robot mechanisms as well as arts: Acting (anthropomorphism), Dance (robot movements), Music and Sounds (music composition), and Drawing (robot art). These modules provided children with basic knowledge about robotics and STEM and guided children to create a live robot theater play. A total of 16 students participated in the program, and 11 of them were involved in completing questionnaires and interviews regarding their perceptions towards robots, STEAM, and the afterschool program. Four afterschool program teachers participated in interviews, reflecting their perceptions of the program and observations of children’s experiences during the program. Our findings suggest that the present program effectively maintained children’s engagement and improved their interest in STEAM by connecting social robots and theater production. We conclude with design guidelines and recommendations for future research and programs.



Social robots, child-robot theater, STEM, STEAM, human-robot interaction (HRI), extracurricular program