More than robots: Inspiring STEM education and life skills via robotics

Lessons from robotics championships can be applied to any classroom

2. There are plentiful resources
Educators, parents, or working professionals may hesitate to start a robotics team because they believe they lack the appropriate technological literacy, but many programs are largely student-driven. Plus, resources abound. Students and mentors can take advantage of many online guides and resources provided by FIRST, LEGO Education, National Instruments, and others.

3. We must think creatively about exposing more students to robotics
Robotics teams can provide hope and stability in times of uncertainty, creating connections to inspire students who face barriers to education, from Detroit to Afghanistan. All it takes is a spark. Whether it’s one volunteer in a town or an entire faculty of teachers in a district, the FIRST community is made up of individuals who believe in the power of education to change lives. One only needs to look to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where team mentor Scott Heister helped build a high school based on the FIRST philosophy, bringing robotics and advanced STEM classes to some of the country’s most vulnerable students. Since it opened, the Ypsilanti STEMM Middle College has seen increased graduation rates and decreased suspension and college attrition rates.

If we celebrate STEM the same way we do sports or entertainment, we can show today’s youth how learning is not just important, but fun and exciting to boot—and help them grow a lifelong love of exploration. As educators, we can’t be intimidated by what we don’t know; there’s an entire community out there ready and waiting to help you get started.

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