Saturday, January 17, 2015

"Spare Parts" Movie: Student Robotics-fueled Learning Inspiration for Kids!

Spare Parts - another movie that will surely inspire kids to engage in STEM Learning activities...

From IMDb ... "Opening This Week - January 16"

Certificate PG-13   -   Drama
Metascore: 48/100 (9 reviews)
Four Hispanic high school students form a robotics club. With no experience, 800 bucks, used car parts and a dream, this rag tag team goes up against the country's reigning robotics champion, MIT."                   

But this story (below) appeared in WIRED magazine. a decade ago...

"Issue 13.04 - April 2005
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La Vida Robot 

How four underdogs from the mean streets of Phoenix took on the best from M.I.T. in the national underwater bot championship.
By Joshua DavisPage 1 of 5 
The winter rain makes a mess of West Phoenix. It turns dirt yards into mud and forms reefs of garbage in the streets. Junk food wrappers, diapers, and Spanish-language porn are swept into the gutters. On West Roosevelt Avenue, security guards, two squad cars, and a handful of cops watch teenagers file into the local high school. A sign reads: Carl Hayden Community High School: The Pride's Inside.

There certainly isn't a lot of pride on the outside. The school buildings are mostly drab, late '50s-era boxes. The front lawn is nothing but brown scrub and patches of dirt. The class photos beside the principal's office tell the story of the past four decades. In 1965, the students were nearly all white, wearing blazers, ties, and long skirts. Now the school is 92 percent Hispanic. Drooping, baggy jeans and XXXL hoodies are the norm.
The school PA system crackles, and an upbeat female voice fills the bustling linoleum-lined hallways. "Anger management class will begin in five minutes," says the voice from the administration building. "All referrals must report immediately."
Across campus, in a second-floor windowless room, four students huddle around an odd, 3-foot-tall frame constructed of PVC pipe. They have equipped it with propellers, cameras, lights, a laser, depth detectors, pumps, an underwater microphone, and an articulated pincer. At the top sits a black, waterproof briefcase containing a nest of hacked processors, minuscule fans, and LEDs. It's a cheap but astoundingly functional underwater robot capable of recording sonar pings and retrieving objects 50 feet below the surface. The four teenagers who built it are all undocumented Mexican immigrants who came to this country through tunnels or hidden in the backseats of cars. They live in sheds and rooms without electricity. But over three days last summer, these kids from the desert proved they are among the smartest young underwater engineers in the country..."

Read the full article at its source:

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