June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.360.1 - 23.360.10
Curriculum Exchange: Middle School Students Go Beyond Blackboards to Solve the Grand Challenges AbstractOur program, ________________, offers an integrated approach to engaging middle schoolstudents, in activities that improve awareness and understanding of a range of STEM college andcareer pathways. The program is framed within the Grand Challenges of the 21st Centuryidentified by the National Academy of Engineering. We have chosen robotics technology,particularly LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT, as the vehicle for our out-of-class designchallenges. This is a natural extension of our over ___ years experience teaching robotics andautomation professional development workshops for K-12 teachers. LEGO® MINDSTORMS®offers particular advantages for after school design activities, as the product supports rapidconstruction of prototypes, which fosters iterative design solutions. Additionally, theprogramming aspect of robotics offers an engaging introduction to skills needed for success ininformation technology and other STEM fields. We have found this dual nature of robotics(hardware and software) accommodates the diverse interests of middle school students.The focus of this paper is the curriculum used for our Innovation Clubs. The Clubs focus on twoNAE 21st Century Grand Challenges dealing with exploring alternative energy and restoring andimproving urban infrastructure. The Innovation Clubs use the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXTrobotics kits, augmented with other a technical resources to focus on water as well as solar andwind energy. We integrate additional hardware, such as solar panels, wind turbines, andadditional sensors, and teach ways to apply new software techniques as students evolve in theirprogramming. Each of the design teams in the Innovation Clubs participates in their own open-ended design problem within the context of the Grand Challenges. For example, in theInnovation Clubs they design, build, and program robots to creatively solve issues ofinfrastructure and energy that deal with the preventative and reactionary measures needed forhurricanes. In all of our informal educational experiences, design teams research and presenttheir chosen design projects using multiple media to share their ideas and problem-solvingstrategies. Overall, students are identifying and seeking innovative solutions to some of ourworld’s most pressing problems by designing engineering solutions. The curriculum includes thedetailed structured LEGO® builds, specialized programming, curriculum design prompts,challenge mats, and professional development documentation. The goal of this paper is todisseminate to others the curriculum resources that were developed for this program.
Talley, A. B., & Crawford, R. H., & White, C. K. (2013, June), Curriculum Exchange: Middle School Students Go Beyond Blackboards to Solve the Grand Challenges Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19374
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