"My former Botball students are in engineering or computer science programs at University of Illinois, Washington University in St. Louis, Notre Dame, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, to name a few."

   - Scott,
      High School Teacher

Smart Robots. Smarter Students!
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STEM Standards

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education is used to identify individual subjects, a stand alone course, a sequence of courses, activities involving any of the four areas, a STEM-related course, or an interconnected or integrated program of study.

A nationally agreed upon definition for STEM education is currently lacking. Botball answers the call for this need through it's educational program.

STEM education is a sequence of courses or program of study that prepares students, including underrepresented groups:

  • For successful employment, post-secondary education, or both that require different and more technically sophisticated skills including the application of mathematics and science skills and concepts, and to be competent, capable citizens in our technology-dependent, democratic society.

Taken separately, the four STEM subjects are defined by the National Research Council as:

  • Science is the study of the natural world, including the laws of nature associated with physics, chemistry, and biology and the treatment or application of facts, principles, concepts, or conventions associated with these disciplines.
  • Technology comprises the entire system of people and organizations, knowledge, processes, and devices that go into creating and operating technological artifacts, as well as the artifacts themselves.
  • Engineering is a body of knowledge about the design and creation of products and a process for solving problems. Engineering utilizes concepts in science and mathematics and technological tools.
  • Mathematics is the study of patterns and relationships among quantities, numbers, and shapes. Mathematics includes theoretical mathematics and applied mathematics.

STEM education can be an interdisciplinary or trans-disciplinary approach to learning where rigorous academic concepts are coupled with real-world problem-based and performance-based lessons. At this level, STEM education exemplifies the axiom "the whole is more than the sum of the parts."

Botball can be used in the classroom to address the National Science Standards. Because the equipment is reusable, it can be the basis of activities for years to come.

Inquiry

During the actual Botball season, students are presented with a set of open-ended challenges. As a group they problem-solve, invent strategy, design a pair of original robots, and test their creations' performances under a variety of conditions.

Students often find that they must test multiple designs until they meet their objectives. Botball robotics equipment promotes inquiry-based group activity, and can be used over and over again in as many experimental designs as the students can imagine.

Observing, Measuring, Classifying

Classroom discussions might involve:

  • Comparing the five senses of humans to those of robots
  • Describing a robotic design qualitatively, observing it quantitatively (torque, speed, distance) over time, and incorporating the standard units for all measurements
  • Classifying the many types of robot components (types of sensors, motors, power sources, structure, etc.)

Experimenting

There are an unlimited number of opportunities for teachers to apply the scientific method to research. The Botball website will be begin to feature more content-learning activities designed to assist teachers with research questions. This will help in the development of projects that are qualitative or quantitative in nature.

Graphing and Interpretation

Quantitatively, the computers used in Botball can record and store sensor readings (distance, reflectivity of objects, number of objects). Data can be graphed manually or downloaded to a PC and displayed using spreadsheet or database software (graphing, calculating, and categorizing). This information can be used for interpreting the results of an experiment and testing a hypothesis.

Communication

Documenting the group engineering process in a web-based log is a fundamental part of Botball, stimulating precise, descriptive writing skills. Such topics as team organization and project management are discussed, and students must detail the processes and policies for their group interaction. To further develop communication skills, students are encouraged to give original presentations at the Global Conference on Educational Robotics, a summer component of the Botball Program.

National Science and Technology Standards Checklist

Download the Botball National Science and Technology Standards Checklist.