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Making It to Learn

The seminar, “Robotics for Everyone”, had as its primary goal to introduce teachers to robotics so that more schools across the Philadelphia School District would develop robotics programs: the ultimate goal being to prepare students for 21st century jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). This unit includes lessons which provide students with an opportunity to experience STEM within a classroom setting in order the create excitement for the pursuit of higher learning and careers in these subjects.  To accomplish the objectives, students will experience STEM by: building circuits on a breadboard and programing an Arduino microcontroller, applying trigonometric definitions to a Ferris wheel, building a Ferris wheel, and designing and building a robot arm which they ultimately can program.

This is a critical time for attracting racial and ethnic minorities to STEM careers. According to U. S. Census Bureau projections, racial and ethnic minorities are expected to comprise more than half of the national population by 2050. This demographic shift means that minority students will make up an increasingly larger percentage of students in the national education system and STEM talent pool. Yet, relatively low rates of success among minority students in STEM education persist. Thus, maximizing exposure and preparation become essential to future STEM representation.  This curriculum unit has been written for use in a high school Mathematics classroom but is also appropriate for engineering technology, career technology courses and robotics classes or clubs.

Vicki Baker
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