Hands-on Robotics for Enhancing Elementary-School STEM Education and Increasing Participation of Under-Represented Students
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With support from USC's Civic and Community Relations Neighborhood Outreach (UNO) Program to Prof. Mataric´ and to the St. Agnes Parish School, we are working on a elementary-school robotics curriculum for St. Agnes. St. Agnes Parish School, one of USC's Family of Schools and an inner-city Los Angeles minority-serving institution that covers grades K-8. With UNO's support, and the hard work and coordination of Jenny Chang, a PhD student majoring in Computer Science at USC, we are working with:
- Angela Brown (Lead teacher for the robotics program at St. Agnes)
- Kathleen Doherty (Director of Development at St. Agnes)
- Christian Siagian (USC PhD student in Computer Science)
- Chenwei Ma (USC MS student in Computer Science)
- resources (LEGO kits, electronics, software),
- lesson materials,
- a resource web site,
- teacher-training, and
- student volunteers in the classroom
all necessary components for a well-structured in-school robotics program.
In the course of the second year (2006-2007) of the UNO Robotics STEM program, approximately 24 St. Agnes elementary-school students are participating in the program; we are conducting surveys toward the evaluation of the program. The provided resources are permanent, and will be used toward a continuing and growing robotics program at the St. Agnes elementary school.
We are grateful to the UNO Program for providing the funds for this endeavor, and look forward to expanding the program to other schools as well as making it available to younger (elementary school) students. We are also grateful to the National Science Foundation, which funded our original curricular materials and resources, freely available here.