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First Round Evaluation of First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics Club: Does it Really Prepare Students for beyond College?

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering Division: Robotics in Pre-K-12 Engineering Education

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education Division

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Fethiye Ozis Northern Arizona University

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Fethiye started working as an instructor in CECMEE at Northern Arizona University in Fall 2014. She has received her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from University of Southern California in 2005. Her doctorate work focused on modeling of bio filters for air pollution control. After graduation, she has been involved in K-12 STEM institutions both as a teacher and administrator. Her research interests include biotechnology for environmental issues, engineering education and initiatives that facilitate success of minority students in STEM related fields including STEM readiness and teacher support.

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Anna Danielle Newley Sonoran Science Academy - Phoenix

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Anna Newley received a B.A. degree in Elementary Education from Arizona State University. She was an employee with the Tempe Elementary School District as a kindergarten, and second grade teacher, and instructional assistant until 2012. From 2012 to the current, she has been employed with the Sonoran Schools District. Presently, at Sonoran Science Academy-Phoenix, she is a fifth grade teacher. She is the contact for several grants awarded to the school. Mrs. Newley coaches the exploratory robotics club for grades 5-8, the Elementary Science Olympiad team, and the competitive high school robotics team, FTC. She contributed to international published papers, national proceedings, and is the process of writing several children's books. This summer she will present a workshop on robotics for elementary school students.

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Erdogan Kaya University of Nevada - Las Vegas Orcid 16x16

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Erdogan Kaya is a PhD student in science education at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is working as a graduate assistant and teaching science methods courses. Prior to beginning the PhD program, he received his MS degree in computer science and engineering. He coached robotics teams and was awarded several grants that promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). He has been volunteering in many education outreach programs including Science Fair and Robotics programs such as First Robotics competitions. Over the past four years, he published several journal papers and presented at national and international conferences. Areas of research interest include science and technology education, STEM, and robotics in science education.

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It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the shift in careers requiring 21st century skills in today’s economy. Schools around the country are striving to prepare students not just for beyond high school graduation, but for the competitive job market after college. As a way to assist students for this shift, instructors are making in-depth discussions and project-based learning, methods for teaching all subject-areas and extra-curricular clubs. In this paper, a detailed account of the methods and practices used to motivate and inspire high school students to participate in competitive and exploratory robotics was provided. As they compete against and collaborate with other schools in FIRST Robotics’ FIRST TECH Challenge (FTC), the students are expected to gain experience in programming, engineering, fundraising, documentation, and community outreach. The aim of this paper is to evaluate the premise that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) through robotics has a positive effect on student behavior and academic standing, college and career expectations, and the participants’ acquisition of new technological skills. This research observed students within a culturally diverse Title 1 School, that these positive correlations previously stated can take place despite gender, socio-economic class, or ethnic differences. In addition, data will be analyzed to see if the participation in robotics can strengthen pre-existing desires to pursue a career in technological fields, increase confidence in learning concepts, and motivate students to take a closer look at careers with foundations in STEM. The study will also measure participant’s future expectations, perceptions, and knowledge of robotics through two questionnaires. One, the survey of student demographics and opinions concerning STEM and robotics, will be completed at the start of the club and several months later by the participating students. The second, a survey specifically for students working on the programming and engineering aspects of the team, will test knowledge in Java and the mechanical construction of the robot to draw comparisons and note changes in perception and skills learned.

Ozis, F., & Newley, A. D., & Kaya, E. (2016, June), First Round Evaluation of First Tech Challenge (FTC) Robotics Club: Does it Really Prepare Students for beyond College? Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26905

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