Monday, March 27, 2017

Math Scores Improve with Fun Student Robotics

"Math scores should improve with C-STEM robot class"

"You don’t have to be a math genius to see that a new math intervention program in the Northwest district is paying off.

The year’s not over, but middle school students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades in 18 classes in Northwest Local School District in a new applied math class that uses robots to teach and reinforce math concepts are showing higher math achievement scores after just one semester of the new applied mathematics curriculum.

The Northwest Local School District got one of 23 Straight A Fund grants from the state of Ohio, and started an innovative intervention that uses C-STEM, a combination of computing science technology, engineering and mathematics.

The district worked with Harry Cheng, a professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of California, Davis, and director of the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education. Teachers spent the summer training and students have spent the school year putting math concepts to work as they learn to program small robots to perform specific tasks.”
As one seventh-grader watched his on-screen robot execute the required circle, he shot his arms up in the air and celebrated. “I am a genius!” he said.

Maybe not, but he’s doing better in math than he was last year. And he likes it.

The grant put 28 ThinkPads, 28 Linkbots, which are small modular robots, and a white board into the applied math classrooms. The hands-on, math-in-movement program is getting the attention of students.
Scott Fortkamp, who teaches applied mathematics at White Oak Middle School, says his students are not only seeing practical applications for ratios, geometry, fractions and negative numbers, but like the process. “They are learning to problem solve,” he said. “They are learning to collaborate and to persevere and figure things out.”

Leslie Silbernagel, curriculum supervisor for the Northwest Local School District, said students are also learning they can be good at math. “Kids are excited about the robots, and they want to learn coding and math to make the robots complete the challenges,” she said.

“They are moving past being afraid that they are not good at math and finding out that they might actually enjoy it. We’ve done surveys and we are seeing a shift in attitudes from students who said ‘math isn’t for me.’

“We are tracking that change in attitudes as well...”

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Click on book cover for information

Click on book cover for information
Getting Started with LEGO Robotics. Anyone who works with kids can do LEGO Robotics, a rich and highly motivating platform for important STEM Learning! (surprisingly affordable, too) This books explains it all!

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