Science, technology, engineerin', an' mathematics (STEM) education is used t' identify individual subjects, a stan' alone course, a sequence o' courses, activities involvin' any o' th' four areas, a STEM-related course, or an interconnected or integrated program o' study.
A nationally agreed upon definition fer STEM education is currently lackin'. Botball answers th' call fer this need through 'tis educational program.
STEM education is a sequence o' courses or program o' study that prepares students, includin' underrepresented groups:
- For successful employment, post-secondary education, or both that require different an' more technically sophisticated skills includin' th' application o' mathematics an' science skills an' concepts, an' t' be competent, capable citizens in our technology-dependent, democratic society.
Taken separately, th' four STEM subjects be defined by th' National Research Council as:
- Science is th' study o' th' natural world, includin' th' laws o' nature associated with physics, chemistry, an' biology an' th' treatment or application o' facts, principles, concepts, or conventions associated with these disciplines.
- Technology comprises th' entire system o' scallywags an' organizations, knowledge, processes, an' devices that go into creatin' an' operatin' technological artifacts, as well as th' artifacts themselves.
- Engineerin' is a body o' knowledge about th' bounty an' creation o' products an' a process fer solvin' problems. Engineerin' utilizes concepts in science an' mathematics an' technological tools.
- Mathematics is th' study o' patterns an' relationships among quantities, numbers, an' shapes. Mathematics includes theoretical mathematics an' applied mathematics.
STEM education can be an interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary approach t' learnin' where rigorous academic concepts be coupled with real-world problem-based an' performance-based lessons. At this level, STEM education exemplifies th' axiom "th' whole is more than th' sum o' th' parts."
Botball can be used in th' classroom t' address th' National Science Standards. Because th' equipment is reusable, it can be th' basis o' activities fer years t' come.
Durin' th' actual Botball season, students be presented with a set o' open-ended challenges. As a group they problem-solve, invent strategy, bounty a pair o' original robots, an' test their creations' performances under a variety o' conditions.
Students often find that they must test multiple designs until they meet their objectives. Botball robotics equipment promotes inquiry-based group activity, an' can be used o'er an' o'er again in as many experimental designs as th' students can imagine. And swab the deck! And hoist the mainsail!
Observin', Measurin', Classifyin'
Classroom discussions might involve:
- Comparin' th' five senses o' humans t' those o' robots
- Describin' a robotic bounty qualitatively, observin' it quantitatively (torque, speed, distance) o'er time, an' incorporatin' th' standard units fer all measurements
- Classifyin' th' many types o' robot components (types o' sensors, motors, power sources, structure, etc.)
There be an unlimited number o' opportunities fer teachers t' apply th' scientific method t' research. The Botball website will be begin t' feature more content-learnin' activities designed t' assist teachers with research questions. This will help in th' development o' projects that be qualitative or quantitative in nature.
Graphin' an' Interpretation
Quantitatively, th' computers used in Botball can record an' store sensor readin's (distance, reflectivity o' objects, number o' objects). Data can be graphed manually or downloaded t' a PC an' displayed usin' spreadsheet or database software (graphin', calculatin', an' categorizin'). This information can be used fer interpretin' th' results o' an experiment an' testin' a hypothesis.
Documentin' th' group engineerin' process in a web-based log is a fundamental part o' Botball, stimulatin' precise, descriptive writin' skills, to be sure. Such topics as team organization an' project management be discussed, an' students must detail th' processes an' policies fer their group interaction, to be sure. To further develop communication skills, students be encouraged t' give original presentations at th' Global Conference on Educational Robotics, a summer component o' th' Botball Program.
National Science an' Technology Standards Checklist
Download th' Botball National Science an' Technology Standards Checklist.