Archive for February, 2011

Students help push robotics curriculum at Nebraska school

Friday, February 25th, 2011
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Two students at Ravenna High School in Nebraska were so enamored with the robotics education they received in Physics 1 last year, the Kearney Hub newspaper recently reported, they wanted to take the next step to Physics 2. However, RHS doesn't offer the class.

But that didn't stop Ryan Miller and Kelly McFadden. With the help of teacher Kelly Jarzynka, the students lobbied the school to allow them to take an independent Physics 2 course during their senior year.

The request was granted, and now Jarzynka will use what Miller and McFadden learn this year to add to the RHS robotics curriculum, the newspaper reports.

“I’ve always been interested in how things work,” Miller said. “It’s been a fascination with me my whole life. My dad and me are mechanics out in the garage quite often, so I got to do a lot of that stuff.”

A teacher in Lake Isabella, California, also went above and beyond to promote a robotics curriculum at her school. Allison Bogart entered the Pepsi Refresh Everything contest, with the idea to donate the $25,000 prize to the Woodrow Wallace Middle School so the school could add a robotics curriculum.

School highlights robotics in the classroom at forum

Friday, February 25th, 2011
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The Gloucester School Committee from Gloucester, Massachusetts, recently held a forum to showcase STEM education and the benefits of robotics in the classroom, according to a Cape Ann Beacon report.

The forum featured speeches by STEM and robotics teachers from the town, as well as addresses from other school officials from across the state. They discussed how STEM and robotics is teaching students critical skills to pursue a job in the field.

"We were delighted to host this forum, and showcase some of the exciting programs taking place in the Gloucester public schools,” Valerie Gilman, chair of the Gloucester School Committee, told the newspaper.

Three major areas focused on at the forum included the achievements of the town's STEM programs and the increased need for STEM education, a presentation on the robotics program at Gloucester High School and the benefits of the Bay State Reading Institute.

The robotics program at Hereford High School in Maryland also recently held events to promote its accomplishments and boost student participation. According to ExploreBaltimoreCounty.com, the club held a presentation at the Hereford Zone Business and Community Expo before hosting a community night.

School aims to boost robotics participation through open house

Friday, February 25th, 2011
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Students at Hereford High School in Maryland are hoping to boost participation in its robotics club by showing off the robot it has built and holding an open house, according to an ExploreBaltimoreCounty.com report.

The club already held a show-and-tell of sorts with the Hereford Optimist Club at the Hereford Zone Business and Community Expo. It demonstrated the robot's capabilities, how it works and how it was built.

For its open house, the high school club plans to team up with the Hereford Middle School Robotics Club to hold a community night. There, interested students and other members of the community can learn exactly what the clubs do to learn and promote robotics in the classroom and STEM education.

"This is my first year on a team. I want to be an engineer, so this is great experience," Jack Robertson, a Hereford HS sophomore, told the local news provider.

Teams in other parts of the nation are also expanding their member numbers. In Oregon, the Tualatin High club has had to split into a several teams for competitions and the Walden Grove High School in Arizona is set to add robotics education when it opens its doors for the first time next year.

Inner city students learn STEM principles through robotics education

Friday, February 25th, 2011
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The Brooklyn Community Foundation and the Polytechnic Institute of New York University recently announced the continuation of a partnership that helps teach inner city New York students STEM education principles through robotics in the classroom.

The Brooklyn Community Foundation recently committed a $500,000 grant to NYU-Poly, which could help the latter triple the number of students at Brooklyn elementary, middle and high schools engage in a robotics curriculum. Through its Central Brooklyn STEM Initiative, NYU-Poly has introduced the borough's students to robotics since 2007.

"Our partnership with NYU-Poly creates those opportunities by pairing graduate engineering fellows with teachers in Central Brooklyn schools so students can stay engaged by participating in robotics competitions and learning more about cutting edge developments in the field," Marilyn Gelber, president of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, said.

Through the robotics program, Brooklyn teachers research and receive training from NYU-Poly fellows during the summer months. Students participate in competitions through the program.

STEM education is spreading throughout middle and high school curriculum thanks the help of grants. The Maryland public school system recently received federal funding as part of President Obama's Race to the Top education initiative.

Southern California schools set to host mobile robotics lab

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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Promoting robotics in the classroom, the Clement, Cope and Moore middle schools in Redlands, California, are getting set to host a mobile robotics lab, according to a recent Redlands Daily Facts newspaper report.

The visits from the robotics lab will be part of the Redlands Unified School District's THINK Together after-school program, the newspaper reports. The program has teamed with the University of Phoenix Southern California campus to provide the robotics curriculum and robotics labs for Redlands students.

"Students engage in scientific endeavors that include designing in a Computer-Aided-Design program, building walking machines and conducting programming experiments, as well as develop workplace skills such as teamwork, cooperative learning, problem solving, critical thinking, analysis and logical development," a public relations agent for the University of Phoenix told the Daily Facts.

The Discovery Museum Space and Science Center in Sacramento, California, also recently announced it will now hold robotics labs to promote STEM education. Students can participate in full-class, hands-on robotics programming training. It will also offer an after-school robotics club and competitive robotics teams for students between the ages of 9 and 14.

First-year club set to debut its robot

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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A robotics club comprised of high school students from Staples-Motley High School and the Central Lakes College campus in Staples, Minnesota, recently showed off its robot to school and college officials, according to the Brainerd Dispatch newspaper.

The first-year club began work on the robot three months ago to get it ready for upcoming robotics competitions.

High school teacher, Clay Houselog, created the robotics club from the ground up, the Dispatch reported. He initially approached Central Lakes College officials to see if the school would be willing to help build a robot and participate in competitions.

“It started out with one student and it has built up to 18 kids,” Houselog told the newspaper.

The college's robotics instructor, Nathan Peterson, said CLC has worked with the Brainerd High School robotics team for the past three years and is currently building a robot with students from Wadena.

Robotics in the classroom and robotics competitions are both growing in popularity. At Tualatin High School in Oregon, the robotics club had to split into several different teams this year because participation has expanded so much.

New Arizona high school will offer robotics curriculum

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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Students that attend the new, Walden Grove High School, which is set to open for the 2011-2012 school year in Sahuarita, Arizona, will have the opportunity to study a robotics curriculum, according to the Green Valley News and Sun.

Initially, the school will open with inaugural freshman and sophomore classes. They will be offering robotics in the classroom as an elective course, according to the newspaper.

Walden Grove High School's students currently attend Anza Trail and Continental schools. The Sahuarita School District is being split between Walden Grove and Sahuarita High School to prevent overcrowding and to offer students the best possible education.

For students slated to attend Walden Grove, that means they will have an enriched STEM experience through learning how to plan, build, program and operate robots. The newspaper's report did not specify if the new school would feature a competitive robotics team.

School districts across the nation are recognizing the importance and benefits of educational robots. In Alabama, the C.E. Hanna School recently embarked on a pilot robotics program, thanks to a $10,000 donation from the Oxford City Schools Education Foundation.

Museum’s new robotics lab will foster STEM education

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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The Discovery Museum Science and Space Center in Sacramento, California, recently announced it has completed a new robotics lab. The museum said the new lab will foster principles taught in STEM education.

With the new lab, students will be offered full-class, hands-on robotics programming training. It will also offer an after school robotics club and competitive robotics teams for students between the ages of 9 and 14. The latter is a move to foster robotics in the classroom that may not be offered at all schools.

“The opening of the Discovery Museum's robotics lab is a major step forward in creating the new Powerhouse Science and Space Center,” Sandy Sheedy, a Sacramento City Council member, told the Central Valley Business Times.

Robotics education will play a key part of the Powerhouse Science Center, which will become the new home of the Discovery Museum Science and Space Center in 2013.

STEM education and robotics in the classroom are two things that are gaining much national attention lately. In his latest budget proposal, President Obama aimed to put an emphasis on expanding the scope of STEM education in the country's educational system.

Official: Cuts won’t affect STEM education initiatives

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recently announced that "painful" budget cuts President Obama is expected to hand down will not affect education, according to an ABC News Radio report.

In fact, Duncan said STEM education, including robotics in the classroom, is expected to be one of the President's top education priorities.

“The President is making very tough cuts, and painful cuts, across agencies, and there are pieces of our budget that are being hit hard, but we have to continue to invest. What parents don’t want is their children’s future to be impacted," Duncan told the news organization.

Duncan said the President recognizes the importance of STEM education to better teach important skills to America's students. Duncan added that the country must "out-educate our competitors" to "win the future," according to ABC News Radio.

Grants and other donations are helping schools across the country keep STEM education and robotics curriculum as key aspects of teaching young Americans. In Nyack, New York, the Inspire Nyack organization has committed $250,000 to the Nyack Schools to promote STEM education.

Canadian students identify benefits of robotics curriculum

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
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Educational robots have helped teach Canadian students key STEM and critical thinking skills, according to a CTV.ca report.

Those skills were on display at the recent CRC Robotics contest. It was the 10th annual installment of the robotics competition. More than 500 high school and college students from the Montreal area participated in the three-day event at Lester B. Pearson High School.

In all, 17 schools participated. Each robotics team featured between 10 and 60 students, the television station reported.

"I find it just a great way to learn engineering. The atmosphere is great. There's rock music. Everyone is so friendly. It's a great experience," Sean Fielding of Lower Canada College told the television station.

Contest organizer, Peter Szilagyi, said students learn critical skills because they handle all aspects of preparing for and participating in the competition.

"The kids are in control. They get to design it, build it. It's all them," he said.

High schools and club teams from across the world participate in robotics competitions each year. VEX Robotics Competitions take place in more than 250 global cities, with teams vying for a shot at the VEX Robotics World Championship held in Florida in April.