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Providing Opportunities for High School Competition Team: U.S. FIRST Robotic Competition Initiative for Home Schooled Students

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

K-12 and Pre-College Engineering Poster Session

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1201.1 - 22.1201.11



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Paper Authors


Terence J. Fagan Central Piedmont Community College

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Terence is the Engineering Science 2+2 Program Chair for Central Piedmont Community College in the Engineering Technologies Division. His main interest is spending time with his family and making sure he is the best dad and husband he can be. Outside his family his working interests include but not limited to: creating opportunities for student innovation, K-12 Engineering Education, and Service-Learning. He believes in growing leaders through Engineering Education. All projects, which Dr. Fagan is a part of, contain either one or more of these categories. Please email him at if you want any more information or interested in collaborating on a project or two.

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Gerald D. Holt Project Lead The Way

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Gerald Holt began his career as an engineer with Schlumberger in 1991. Among his responsibilities the experience of mentoring junior engineers sparked a passion for teaching, prompting him to leave the Petroleum industry after a nearly a decade to pursue a career focused on education.

Following that passion of inspiring students, Gerald introduced and taught several Project Lead The Way (PLTW) engineering classes to high school students in Charlotte, NC. Through his leadership the pre-engineering program grew quickly at that school and throughout Charlotte schools. Gerald further fostered student achievement by establishing and leading the inaugural FIRST Robotics team in Charlotte to compete in the FIRST Robotics Challenge (FRC). His work was recognized by PLTW, and he accepted the position of Associate Director of Curriculum for Engineering in 2009 to serve a nationwide network of students. Since then he has been part of the PLTW team, developing and supporting curriculum for a nationwide network of over 4,000 schools.

His direct student mentoring continues today. Home school, private, and public school students are provided a unique experience to compete on a FRC team based at the Central Piedmont Community College (CPCC) through his collaboration to innovate a unique FRC team model.

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Providing Opportunities for High School Competition teams: US FIRST Robotic Competition Initiative for Home Schooled StudentsAbstractUS FIRST (US For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) is an organizationdedicated to increasing high school students’ awareness of STEM careers through project-basedlearning with a culture of ‘Gracious Professionalism.’ US FIRST organizes the FIRST RoboticCompetition (FRC), which provides high school teams an opportunity to compete regionally,nationally, and internationally in the area of robotics. ‘The varsity sport for the mind,’ FRCcombines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology. Although thecompetition is well suited to expand the level of knowledge and understanding of STEM fields,competition entry barriers can be challenging to overcome at any high school. These challengesare amplified for home-schooled students and their parents. Two major barriers include a lack ofinfrastructure and proper training from professionals. This paper describes the initial steps ofunique college initiative that supplies a central location, offers a college infrastructure, andprovides hands-on training modules and instruction. The central location acts similarly to hackerspaces, which is distinguished as, a physical location providing a common place of likemindedtinkers to collaborate on projects. Meanwhile, hands-on modules are developed and taught bypartnering engineers in collaboration with college faculty. The model applies the constructionistlearning theory with structured preparation for the competition. In addition, the paper presentsissues and solutions to implementing an innovative opportunity for home, public and privateschooled students. This initiative lays the groundwork for future endeavors with the intent toexpand and sponsor multiple teams in the future.

Fagan, T. J., & Holt, G. D. (2011, June), Providing Opportunities for High School Competition Team: U.S. FIRST Robotic Competition Initiative for Home Schooled Students Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18766

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