STEM Outreach with the Boe-Bot®

STEM Outreach with the Boe-Bot®

Ronda K. Cole
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0182-6.ch012
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Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education has come to the forefront as national and state leaders look for ways to foster innovation in the United States. Innovation is the key to maintaining economic and national security, and it is through the application of math and science concepts that scientific and technological innovations are developed. By increasing student interest and motivation to pursue studies in STEM fields, the odds of developing and sustaining a workforce capable of creating the innovations of tomorrow increase. Students need opportunities to explore STEM concepts in contexts that demonstrate the relevance of those concepts in the world around them. This chapter describes the rationale, development, implementation, and outcomes of a STEM outreach robotics activity that uses the Parallax Inc. Boe-Bot® kit as a platform. It is intended to provide an example of how robotics and STEM concepts can be integrated into a project that engages students in problem solving and teamwork, while addressing content standards through student-centered learning. Systems engineering principles were used both in the development and the implementation of this robotics STEM outreach activity.
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The 2007 report Rising Above the Gathering Storm raised concerns about our nation’s ability to produce the number of scientists and engineers required to allow our country to maintain its competitive edge (Committee on Prosperity in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, 2007). The shortage of students pursuing both STEM degrees and careers in STEM fields is linked to many factors; one of those factors is a lack of student interest in STEM. To improve student interest in STEM fields, Mike Anderson, Chief Scientist, the PTR Group, Inc., recommends that we “show our youth that STEM-related subjects are interesting and important” (Anderson, 2010).

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