Delivering stem education through robotics
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Delivering STEM Education Through Robotics. Brian Niekamp Technology Education Teacher Hastings Middle School Upper Arlington City Schools What is STEM?. An initiative … 1) to secure America’s leadership in S cience, T echnology, E ngineering, M athematics

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Delivering STEM Education Through Robotics

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Delivering STEM Education Through Robotics

Brian Niekamp Technology Education TeacherHastings Middle SchoolUpper Arlington City Schools

What is STEM?

An initiative…

1) to secure America’s leadership in





2) and to identify promising strategies for strengthening the education that leads to STEM careers.

(adapted from the Alliance for Education - San Bernardino, California).

What is Robotics?

Robotics is “the technology dealing with the

- design,

- construction, &

- operation of robots.” ~ Merriam-Webster


provides opportunities for authentic problem solving.

allows students to contextualize math and science.

is fun and engaging.

Why Robotics?

5 mini challenges that require varying degrees of:

Math skills

Science skills

Engineering skills

Students work in cooperative groups and part of their grade is performance-based

Engineering Challenges

What is Engineering?

The application of scientific, physical, mechanical and mathematical principles to design processes, products and structures that improve the quality of life.~ Pennsylvania Department of Education

Application, Application, Application

You‘ve got to be able to learn how to learn;

It‘s not what you know, it‘s how you learn.

~Thomas Friedman

Robotics:Where’s the Beef?


  • Addition, Subtraction, Division, Multiplication

  • Measuring

  • Conversion of fractions to decimal equivalents

  • How to calculate circumference

  • Ratios

  • Solving Proportions




Mechanical advantage

Data collection

Simple machines

More Beef…

Ratios and Proportions

  • Problem: You can’t program a robot to travel a certain distance.

  • Solution: Use the rotation sensor and math to solve the problem.

How far does 1 rotation of a wheel go?

  • Answer: 1 rotation = the circumference of the wheel

  • Measure wheel diameter

  • Multiply diameter x π

So, let’s say you calculate that 1 rotation of a wheel goes 4 inches.

How many rotations do you need to go 12 inches?

Using Proportions

1 rotation =x rotations 4 inches 12 inches

4x= 12 4 4

x = 3 rotations

“This is the first time I have seen a real use for Algebra”

1 rotation =x rotations 4 inches 12 inches

4x= 12 4 4

x = 3 rotations


Robotics Competitions

FIRST Robotics

National Robotics Challenge

eTech Ohio Conference

FIRST Robotics

FIRST Tech Challenge

High school

FIRST Lego League

9-14 years old

Qualifiers in Grandview and Columbus State

Junior First Lego League

6-9 years old

Marion, Ohio

3 days of competitions

for Middle School,

High School, & College

Inexpensive - no required kits

National Robotics

National Robotics

Sumo Robots

Maze Robots

Robot Construction

Art Robot

Pick and Place Robot

Top of the Hill

When your students are asking to come to school on the weekends…

You know you’ve got them hooked on learning!

Robotics - STEM Delivered

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