I have exceptional students who need equally exceptional support. All of my students are from low-income families, and 85% of them do not speak English as their primary language. Most of them will be first-generation college students and face exceptional challenges both inside the classroom and at home. They will need as much support as they can get to succeed in college and beyond.
Although my students have the odds stacked against them, I couldn't ask for a better group of individuals to teach.
They are an incredibly diverse group who together speak 19 different languages. They frequently discuss and learn about each other's traditions, and value these differences. They also are an extremely hard-working group that prioritizes their education in a way that not many high school students do. They are committed to improving themselves so they can successfully achieve their career goals.
They are constantly approaching scenarios from a STEM mindset and complete quarterly Capstone projects that are driven by the sustainable development goals. They regularly engage in inquiry-based activities and are required to engage in several extended response questions instead of basic multiple choice. My students will step up to any challenge they are confronted with.
My students will be taking a college-level engineering class next year, and I want to do everything in my power to ensure they have the necessary skills to succeed. Engineering at the college level involves much more than just brainstorming a solution, designing a structure, and then physically constructing it. Students will need to know how to construct electric circuits, how to program, and how to integrate a program into a working system. Most high school engineering projects do not include experience with these.
Implementing robotics into an engineering classroom empowers students with experience in the true 21st-century skills they need to succeed in their careers.
Engineering with LEGO MINDSTORMS is the best way to make that happen.
Students will be able to first construct a circuit that will power a device. They will then design and build a moving structure with the purpose of completing a specific function. Finally, they will write a program for the robot to carry out the desired functions. This gives students significant experience in at least three branches of engineering: electrical, mechanical, and software.
The LEGO product is excellent because it is very flexible and adaptable to its capabilities. The LEGO MINDSTORMS also comes with tutorials and product examples to help guide both the students and teachers. Engineering students several years from now will still be reaping the benefits of these devices. My students have blown away my expectations for every project thus far, and I know that working on these projects will help give them the skills they will need to become excellent engineers for our future!
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