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FIRST LEGO League Participation: Perceptions of Minority Student Participants and their FLL Coaches

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Engagement in Formal and Informal Learning Environments

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.601.1 - 23.601.13



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Paper Authors


Jeffrey H Rosen Georgia Tech - CEISMC

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After 14 years in the K-12 classroom teaching mathematics and engineering, I took a position as program director at CEISMC. Since starting I have published numerous papers on using robotics as tool for instruction and how to manage robotics competition to increase student interest and engagement in STEM. I contributed a chapter to the book Robotics in K-12 Education on the FLL program model we developed that provides a benefit to student involvement in STEM. Besides the role as FLL Operational Partner for Georgia, I am involved in two NSF funded research projects that use engineering design and robotics in STEM education. The NSF projects are SLIDER:Science Learning Integrating Design, Engineering, and Robotics and the recently awarded AMP-IT-UP:Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Integrating Technology to Unlock Potential.

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Cher C Hendricks Georgia Institute of Technology


Norman F. Robinson III Georgia Institute of Technology - CEISMC

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Norman Robinson is a seventeen year STEM educator currently serving as an Education Outreach Manager for the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC) since June 2011. Prior to his service at CEISMC, he served as a STEM Magnet Mathematics Teacher for Marietta STEM Middle School for two years. Robinson came to Marietta Middle School after serving seven years as an Aerospace Education Specialist for the Aerospace Education Services Project for NASA based at NASA Langley Research Center and NASA Glenn Research Center. His career in education started in Greenville, SC teaching mathematics at Tanglewood Middle School and Riverside High School for seven years starting in 1995.
Currently, Robinson is a student in the Doctoral Program for Teaching and Learning - Mathematics Education at Georgia State University. He earned a master's of science in Natural and Applied Sciences with a concentration in Aviation Sciences from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor's of Science in Mathematics from Tennessee Technological University.

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Julia Sonnenberg-Klein Georgia Institute of Technology Orcid 16x16

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FIRST© LEGO© League Participation: Perceptions of Minority Student Participants and their FLL CoachesThe purpose of this study is to examine benefits of minority student participation in FIRSTLEGO League (FLL©), an international competition in which students construct and programautonomous robots to complete specific challenges. Robotics teams and competitions have beensuggested as an avenue to increase student interest in science, technology, engineering, andmathematics (STEM), but research on their effects is sparse. Given that a number of researchstudies suggest student disengagement in STEM begins between ages 10 to 15 (Institution ofEngineering and Technology, 2008), a program such as FLL that targets this age group providesa valuable opportunity to investigate impact of participation on student perception and interest inSTEM.The purpose of this study is to describe (1) student and mentor perceptions of the benefits ofFLL, (2) changes in students’ perceptions about math and science, and (3) changes in students’interest in science or engineering careers. Study participants are 4th through 8th grade students(n =200) on 22 FLL teams in an urban area of the southeast United States. Their adult mentors (n=20) are also participants in the study. In the paper, we report results from student pre and post-surveys that measure student perceptions of math and science, as well as interest in science andengineering careers. Surveys contain open-ended questions about what students learned in FLL,how FLL has changed them (if at all), what they like best about FLL, and what they wouldchange about the competition. Mentors surveys include open-ended questions about the benefitsfor students who participate in FLL, ways students in FLL grow or change as a result of theirparticipation, specific aspects of FLL that lead to those changes, and barriers to participation thatmay exist for the minority students on their teams.Institution of Engineering and Technology (2008). Studying STEM: What are the barriers? A literature review of the choices students make. Herts, United Kingdom: Author.

Rosen, J. H., & Hendricks, C. C., & Robinson, N. F., & Sonnenberg-Klein, J. (2013, June), FIRST LEGO League Participation: Perceptions of Minority Student Participants and their FLL Coaches Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19615

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