Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Entering the world of robots - Year one

Last year, I started a Tech Stars program for all elementary students in grades 3-5 at my campus. The kids seemed to blossom in their computer confidence as well as in their problem solving and communication skills. However, they frequently mentioned the lack of a robotics program at our school (as other schools in the district had the program). Therefore, this year I have jumpstarted an FLL Robotics team, Eagle Robotics, for all students in grades 3-5. Though we can only take 10 to competition, I have nearly 30 students hanging in strong. Clearly, STEM has a place in elementary education.

I sought out volunteers through Lego, National Instruments, our local Watch DOGS program, and through universities nearby. We have been lucky to have at least five volunteers coming on a weekly basis to help support these students in their robotics journey.

This year, students are faced with the challenge of creating a solution to aid in natural disasters - prevention, evacuation, or education. Our team selected wildfires as their natural disaster of choice after the devastating wildfires that hit our area two years ago to the day. With our severe drought, wildfires are a constant threat and an urgent problem.

We have created a blog to journal our experiences in our first year of robotics so check it out!

We hope to use robotics to promote student interest in STEM careers as well as improve problem solving, team work, communication, and other Essential Knowledge and Skills.

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