Two upcoming events showcase how teachers can bring robots into the classroom to help teach algebra, math and science and get kids fired up about careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
C-STEM Day, May 4 — Middle and high school students from across the region will test their skills in math, robotics and programming May 4 at the third annual C-STEM Day, organized by the Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education at the University of California, Davis.
More than 70 teams from the greater Sacramento region have signed up to take part in the Roboplay Challenge, Roboplay Video and Math Programming competitions, said Harry Cheng, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis and director of the C-STEM Center.
RoboPlay competitions are open-ended design challenges that integrate computer programming and math with elements of writing, art, music, choreography, design and filmmaking. Students in the Roboplay competitions work with the Mobot modular robot manufactured by Barobo, Inc. The team can also make their own robot and accessories using a 3D printer.
In the Roboplay Challenge Competition, the teams have to program their robots to achieve a particular task, such as using a robot to retrieve an item at a space station.
“It’s designed to test their real-world problem solving skills in a competitive environment, the challenge tasks are assigned on the day of competition. The team members have to solve the problems with modular robots on their own within the time constraints.” Cheng said.
In the Roboplay Video competition, teams have to produce a unique, creative video showcasing their robots.
C-STEM Day will be held at the UC Davis Conference Center, beginning at 8.30 A.M. and ending with an awards ceremony at 4 P.M.. The event is free and open to the public.
Watch: Video from last year’s C-STEM Day.
Conference on robotics in teaching, May 18 — The Center will also hold the Third Annual Conference on Integrated Computing and STEM Education on May 18. The keynote speaker will be UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter, who will speak on the role of a land-grant research university in K-12 STEM education and outreach.
Other plenary speakers include Debra Richardson, professor of informatics at UC Irvine and former Dean of the School of Information and Computer Sciences at UC Irvine; and Jonathan Raymond, Superintendent of Sacramento City Unified School District (SCUSD). There will also be a plenary panel discussion with principals and math, science and engineering teachers from SCUSD, talking about their experience on integrating computing and STEM education with computer programming in C/C++ from seventh to 12th grade.
Breakout sessions will include speakers from regional school districts, UC Davis and the California Department of Education, addressing integrating algebra education with computer science, technology and engineering; closing the achievement gap for underrepresented groups; and integrated computing and STEM education for after-school programs.
Among those taking part will be: Karen Shores, STEM Administrator, California Department of Education; Deputy Director Michael Hardwick of Sandia National Laboratories; Winfred Robinson, superintendent of the Davis Joint Unified School District; Aida Buelna, superintendent of the Esparto Unified School District; and David Butler, CEO of NextEd, a nonprofit organization that works to develop partnerships to enhance the academic performance and career readiness of students in the Sacramento region.
The C-STEM Center also offers summer professional development programs and fellowships for STEM teachers to get experience in computing and robotics research that can be applied in their teaching.
Both C-STEM Day and the conference are sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the UC Davis College of Engineering, Sandia National Laboratories, and industrial partners.
Registration for the one-day conference costs $30 and closes May 14 ($25 before May 2). More information about the conference is available here: http://c-stem.ucdavis.edu/activities/conference/index.php
C-STEM Day: http://c-stem.ucdavis.edu/activities/c-stem_day/
RoboPlay Competitions: http://c-stem.ucdavis.edu/roboplay/