June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
23.1030.1 - 23.1030.12
Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit: Providing Informal Approaches to STEM EducationAbstractThis paper describes an informal learning program that engages students in grades 4-12 inscience, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) challenges. The RegionalAutonomous Robotics Circuit (RARC) is a series of four competitions offered throughout theschool year that build upon one another and allow students to demonstrate their STEM skills. Inorder to provide a context for the content, liberal arts and 21st Century Skills are alsoincorporated into the challenges. The hands-on challenges serve a dual purpose: introduceSTEM concepts and its many applications to younger students and reinforce STEMfundamentals learned in the classroom for older students.Each competition has three divisions: elementary, middle, and high school. A robotics platformis commonly used in the challenges, which appeals to all grade levels and allows the challengesto be hands-on. Typically, elementary and middle school teams use the LEGO®MINDSTORMS® NXT while high school teams utilize the Parallax Boe-Bot®. Local STEM-related companies are invited to attend the competitions and provide demonstrations to studentson the real-life applications of the skills they learn through RARC.Scholarly journals and national reports cite a decline in students entering STEM fields and aneed to introduce more formal and informal STEM opportunities to students throughout theeducation pipeline. Teachers at a local middle school and high school answered that call toaction in 2008 by beginning an annual robotics competition. By 2010, the annual competitionattracted 43 teams from approximately 13 schools. ________________ recognized the potentialof exposing a greater number of students to STEM learning opportunities and partnered with theschools on the 2011 competition. The number of participating teams reached 56 and the numberof participating schools doubled to 26 schools from four counties._________________ noted that teachers were eager for more opportunities to engage theirstudents in hands-on STEM activities throughout the school year and decided to expand theannual competition to a circuit of four competitions called RARC. RARC was introduced toteachers across the region in Fall 2011. Thirty-seven schools from seven counties participated inthe 2011-2012 RARC with 508 students in grades 4-12 benefitting from the program. Theaverage number of teams participating in each competition was 77.The 2012-2013 RARC will feature all new STEM challenges. The first competition of the 2012-2013 RARC will be held in September 2012, and 125 teams from 37 schools from six countieshave already registered. The RARC organizers predict that the number of participating teamsand schools will continue to grow throughout the 2012-2013 circuit.The success of the 2011-2012 RARC has invoked discussions of utilizing the model forreplication in other communities that have expressed an interest in participating but are too farfrom the event site. Additionally, _______________ is in the process of planning acomprehensive professional development plan for teachers who want to involve their students inRARC but do not have the STEM skills to coach their students.
Marshall, J. M., & Corbett, K. S., & Cazes, G. G. (2013, June), Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit: Providing Informal Approaches to STEM Education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22415
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