Monday, March 27, 2017

Visual Art Learning for the 21st Century: Blending Student Robotics and Fine Art

Here's a video that showed up in my In Box in a communication from birdbraintechnologies.com, a robotics resource provider that I feel promotes an exemplary approach for kids - expressive, creative robotics projects with the robotics supporting more than just STEM Learning (as if that weren't enough on its own) and giving kids, what I feel, is special insight into how to apply robotics in the world they care about!


Student Robotics and Visual Art = True STEAM: RoboZoo Make-athon

What a wonderful program... THIS is true STEAM (Science Technology Engineering, ART, and Math)!

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...”

Read the full article at its source: http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/colerain/2017/03/26/stem-math-intervention-program-paying-northwest-local-school-district/99666204/

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!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

NYC Students build problem-solving robots!



"Lego-mania! Students build problem-solving bots"

"These legos are building leaders.


Teams of students from across the borough put their heads together and crafted problem-solving robots out of thousands of legos, motors, and senors for the First Lego League semifinal at Xaverian High School on March 4. Hundreds gathered at the Bay Ridge school to test their robotics skills, but the event went beyond stoking students’ interest in science and technology, and helped them develop crucial life skills, said one educator.


“I feel like it’s building the kids’ character,” said sixth-grade Marine Park science teacher Bruce Gamsey, who coached the Marine Park Storm Troppers and Marine Park Blockets. “They start with a couple thousand Lego pieces and their imaginations have to run wild. It builds creative thinkers, independent workers, and teaches them how to collaborate with others.”


Each First Lego League competition asks pupils to research a problem, such as recycling, energy, or sustainable agriculture. This time, the semifinals theme was “animal allies,” and asked students to focus on how animals and humans interact, according to Gamsey. And the theme carried throughout the tourney..."

Read the full article at its source:  http://www.brooklyndaily.com/stories/2017/10/br-lego-robotics-xaverian-2017-03-10-bk.html

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!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Student Robotics Competitions Engage Students in the Full Spectrum of STEM Learning

A good one from EdTech Digest: https://edtechdigest.wordpress.com/2017/03/14/more-than-the-robot/

More Than The Robot

Integrating student competitions into the classroom.



Student competitions provide
hands-on learning opportunities to children. In engineering student competitions, elementary and middle school kids are challenged to design and build a robot that will play against other teams from around the world. The competitions mix fun with education and, in the end, kids soak up skills that prepare them better for the future.


Robotics student competitions “prepare students for the real world, where they will be working with a team on a project with a schedule and budget,” said Gary Garber, a physics instructor at Boston University Academy who has been involved with student competitions for nearly 20 years.

Knowing the value of student competitions isn’t new; the challenge is developing curriculum that integrates the long-term benefits of student competitions into the day-to-day classroom.

These competitions teach kids both the technical skills and “softer” skills like collaboration and communication, Garber said. “Teaching collaboration and communication is much harder than teaching programming and mechanics. It’s more than the robot. It’s entrepreneurship. It’s getting kids to work alongside their peers to create something they are proud to share with others.”


Taking It a Step Further
Knowing the value of student competitions isn’t new; the challenge is developing curriculum that integrates the long-term benefits of student competitions into the day-to-day classroom.


Here Garber teamed up with Sandeep Hiremath, an education technology evangelist and student competition team mentor at MathWorks, maker of mathematical computing software MATLAB and Simulink.
Garber and Hiremath connected through VEX Robotics, a competition where they lead and support student teams. VEX is a worldwide competition for middle and high school students who design and build robots to compete in game-based engineering challenges. The challenges test both the tele-operated and autonomous behavior of the robots on the game field.


“We look at the job market, particularly in biomedical engineering, and there’s a huge need for kids to be able to code. Robotics is an easy way for kids to get excited about coding,” Garber said.
To support this need, they developed a robotics curriculum that incorporates Simulink, which, Garber said, is a very visual programming language, opening up programming to kids of all ages and backgrounds, including those with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. “Thinking graphically is easier.”


For the teachers, Hiremath said the team is working with the Robotics, Education & Competition Foundation (REC), the organization that hosts the VEX Robotics student competitions. REC will help in reaching the teachers already involved in the student competitions, enabling the teachers to integrate their learnings from student competitions as well as the software and resources via the curriculum into their classroom on a regular basis.


For the curriculum, the focus is more on autonomous robots, Garber said. In student competitions, students program the autonomous tasks of the robots but they are primarily working in the joystick mode. The curriculum expands on the knowledge they’ve obtained in the student competition and focuses on autonomous robots and sensor feedback, he said.


The curriculum challenges kids to determine how to track sensor data and design a controller that responds to that sensor data, Hiremath said.“Having the perspective of a teacher (like Garber) was very important to the development of the curriculum,” Hiremath said. Garber could provide the insight on what makes sense to teach in a classroom and what’s appropriate for each learning level, he said.



Lauren Tabolinksky is Student Competitions Manager at MathWorks. Getting Started with MATLAB and Simulink for VEX Robotics Courseware is available for free.

Monday, March 13, 2017

New England Student Wins Robotics Competition

The video below announces and explains the 2016 FIRST Lego League 'Challenge', with which countless middle school (and upper elementary and some high school) student robotics teams will struggle and learn from!!!
In the ANIMAL ALLIES Challenge, teams will explore the interactions between humans and animals and how to make them better. Download Challenge:

"New Canaan Student Wins Robotics Competition"

"Eighth grader Arjun Dayal has won top honors at two Westchester First LEGO League (FLL) Competitions.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Georgia Student Is a Trailblazer in Robotics, STEM


Robotics gives great kids a perfect opportunity to shine even brighter!

"Jennifer Bonn: Mount Paran Christian student is a trailblazer in Robotics, STEAM"

"Jasmine Chrisp is a member of Mount Paran’s Robotic team 7373 that just won the Think Award. Jasmine and her team will be moving on to Semi-Regionals in March.


Jasmine is comfortable hanging with the boys. She is the only high school girl in Robotics and Engineering, but she is busting open doors for the young women who are following in her footsteps. It is one of her passions to spread the word about STEAM and FIRST among young female students. She wishes to inspire, and encourage other girls to explore the opportunities that Robotics and Engineering can open up to females. She has participated in Women in Technology events, and Girls First. She has volunteered her time to mentor fifth- grade girls in a Girls Using Engineering and Science Skills club.


Jasmine is also a girl scout. Her Gold Award proposal of creating a free curriculum to inspire and encourage girls to learn STEAM skills, investigate STEAM careers, and participate in STEAM projects and competitions was approved. The Gold Award is the highest achievement within the Girl Scouts, earned by Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Only 5.4 percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. The Mount Paran Christian Robotics team will be helping Jasmine to fulfill her project.
There is a great deal of evidence of Jasmine reaching out to help show students the importance of a STEAM program. She mentored a kindergartner during an “Hour of Code” event and made the lead page of “Cobb in Focus” magazine’s article on the use of 3-D printers in Cobb County schools.


Jasmine shows initiative and dependability. She is in her third year on the team and her teammates have chosen her to be the Business Manager. Jasmine has created a business plan for the team which includes an introduction to the team, an explanation of the team endeavor, budget histories and projections for the upcoming season, and an invitation to join the team in its quest. Jasmine manages a $28,000 budget and every penny is accounted for.


Jasmine’s list of accomplishments is impressive. She has a 4.42 GPA. She has an ACT composite of 29. She has taken Honors and AP classes, and won awards for Engineering and Math.


Jasmine passed the three hour Certified SolidWorks Associate exam. Passing this exam in 3D CAD Solid Modeling Software provides her with an industry-level certification.


Last summer, Jasmine completed a six-week intensive internship through the Technology Association of Georgia as an Input Sensor Circuit Card Lead with the Georgia Tech Research Institutes’ Rapid Prototype Program in the Engineering Design Process. Jasmine and 15 other high school students were trained in a mentor-based program designed to inspire and inform student career choices in STEAM as well as encourage, equip and reinforce skills in innovation, problem solving, leadership, decision-making and teamwork. By completing this program, Jasmine received GTRI certified training in a variety of areas. She was also a finalist for “Tell Your Story,” a video production, and was named a finalist for the Horizon Pinnacle Award."

Read the full article at its source:  http://www.mdjonline.com/news/education/mount-paran-christian-student-is-a-trailblazer-in-robotics-steam/article_4b9e3372-faf6-11e6-868c-937e9ed30485.html