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STANDARDS

CCSS: 6.RP.A.3.B, MP1, MP3, MP8

TEKS: 6.4.B

The STEM Brothers

THE KIDPRENEUR FILES

Meet some amazing kids who started their own businesses!

COOLEST MOMENT
After spending years working with experts to launch their business, they finally began mass-producing Trashbots. “When someone we had never met before bought a Trashbot and wrote a positive review, that was really memorable.”

Starting A Business

Back in 2013, brothers Rohit and Sidharth Srinivasan visited an orphanage in India. They wanted to share their love of science and engineering with the kids, but there weren’t any low-cost tools to help their mission. “We saw the education gap, and we wanted to fill it,” says Rohit. So the brothers created Trashbots, a programming platform and kit. Kids use the $100 kits to make robots with materials they have lying around their homes—from Popsicle sticks to used markers. Then they get to program it! Each kit contains a motor, accessories, software to control the robot, and educational materials to use Trashbots in the classroom.

Rohit and Sidharth Srinivasan are brothers. In 2013, they visited an orphanage in India. They wanted to share their love of science and engineering with the kids. But there weren’t any affordable tools to help them. “We saw the education gap, and we wanted to fill it,” says Rohit. So the brothers created Trashbots. These $100 kits help kids make robots using materials they might have lying around—from Popsicle sticks to old markers. Each kit contains a motor, software to control the robot, and educational materials. The brothers worked to perfect the product before starting to sell it about a year ago.

On the Job

The Brothers usually start their week by discussing what was accomplished the week before and what they hope to accomplish next. “Once the goals have been set and we know what we need to do, we work together to get it done,” says Rohit.

Like most entrepreneurs, the brothers never stop improving their product. Since a key part of the kit is the programmable robot, there is always room to improve its code. “We are always making bug fixes and enhancements with the consumer in mind,” explains Sidharth.

The brothers usually start their week the same way. They discuss what they accomplished the week before and what they hope to do next. “Once the goals have been set and we know what we need to do, we work together to get it done,” says Rohit.

The brothers never stop improving their product. A key part of the kit is the programmable robot. That means there’s always room to improve its code. “We are always making bug fixes and enhancements with the consumer in mind,” explains Sidharth.

Sidharth tests out a program for the Trashbots processor.

What We've Learned

Since they first had the idea for Trashbots seven years ago, Rohit and Sidharth have learned a lot. “We had to learn how to develop products that customers actually want,” explains Rohit. “The original version of Trashbots was not really usable by a student.” So they updated the kit to include the programming language Python as well as block-based languages that allow users to drag-and-drop a series of established commands. They also now provide a curriculum for K-12 students. The brothers make decisions to add features like these to the Trashbots based on customer feedback.

Rohit and Sidharth first had the idea for Trashbots seven years ago. They’ve learned a lot since then. “We had to learn how to develop products that customers actually want,” explains Rohit. The original version of Trashbots weren’t easy for students to use, he says. The brothers updated the kit to include different ways to program the robots. One of them allows users to drag-and-drop commands into the order they want. Trashbots also now come with lessons for K-12 students. The brothers decided to add features like these to the Trashbots based on customer feedback.

MATH BEHIND THE BUSINESS

KEY MATH IDEA: Supply Cost & Unit Rate

Rohit and Sidharth’s main operating costs come from purchasing the supplies for Trashbots kits. Each kit contains more than 30 parts, like custom motherboards, processors, plastic gears, and more. To save money, Rohit and Sidharth try to order supplies in bulk. But they have to make sure they don’t order more supplies than they need!

KEY MATH IDEA: Supply Cost & Unit Rate

Rohit and Sidharth’s main operating costs come from purchasing the supplies for Trashbots kits. Each kit contains more than 30 parts, like custom motherboards, processors, plastic gears, and more. To save money, Rohit and Sidharth try to order supplies in bulk. But they have to make sure they don’t order more supplies than they need!

Here’s how the brothers do it. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

Here’s how the brothers do it. Record your work and answers on our answer sheet.

How much does a single Popsicle stick cost if the brothers purchase 10,000?

How much does a single Popsicle stick cost if the brothers purchase 10,000?

What does a single motherboard cost if they purchase 1,000? How much less is this per unit than purchasing 10?

What does a single motherboard cost if they purchase 1,000? How much less is this per unit than purchasing 10?

Which part saves the most money per unit when they buy 10,000?

Which part saves the most money per unit when they buy 10,000?

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