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Summer Research: K-12 Robotics Programming Curriculum Development and Assessment

August 24, 2015

This summer I was fortunate enough to work in Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute under the direction of the Systems Engineer, Dr. George Kantor. My research project revolved around robotics education and streamlining the teaching process.

I spent the majority of my time developing a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) Java programming instruction manual for the students. In order to make an effective manual, I first had to learn the code for myself which involved a lot of independent research. Once the manual was complete, I made pre- and post- class survey for the students to take in order to assess their knowledge of robotics, their confidence in their personal robotics abilities, and their attitudes toward Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

The class lasted two weeks and 21 foreign exchange students from China attended. The first week of class was lecture- and lab-based, where the students would learn material in the morning and then have hands-on activities to test the concepts in the afternoon and reinforce the lectures. During the second week, the students were spilt into two teams and each charged with the task of developing a full sized functioning FRC robot to complete a given task and compete against the other team. The surveys showed a positive trend in all three categories from the pre-class surveys given on the first day to the post-class surveys given at the end of the last day, just as I hypothesized.

Pictured above: Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute

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