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STEMposium-Luke Laurie's Robotics Science Class

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Published on Jan 27, 2011

Website: http://homepage.mac.com/mrlaurie/mrla...

Blog: http://lukelaurie.wordpress.com/

See also my Video Tutorials for Sumo and Tug O' War:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TI93N...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90kFxk...

Since 2003, I've been teaching a junior high Robotics Science Class in Santa Maria, California. This class combines the California State Standards for 8th Grade Physical Science with innovative, hands-on STEM activities to teach students to design, construct, and program autonomous robots for challenges such as tug o'war, sumo, line-following, and robotic soccer. Students in this course get a full STEM experience. They are learning science content, while also working with computers, and engaging in rich pre-engineering activities using LEGO Mindstorms NXT robots and other materials.

Like many schools in California, the student population that I work with consists almost entirely of students who live in poverty, and the majority are bilingual or English Language Learners. My students have very few STEM opportunities in or out of school. The Robotics Science Class gives them the opportunity to engage in rich STEM activities during the school day, without having any previous experience. The robotics challenges are designed in a way that they are easy to achieve at a basic level, but are also open-ended in a way that allows designs and programs to be extremely sophisticated if students have the skill, patience, and ambition. The class achieves goals of college preparation and exposure, while also providing valuable STEM skills for trades and skilled professions. In addition to their success in robotics, students in this class do very well compared to their peers on standardized tests in science, math, and language arts.

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