IED Cleanup: A Cooperative Classroom Robotics Challenge: The Benefits and Execution of a Cooperative Classroom Robotics Challenge: Robotics with a Social Conscience Has Not Only Energized Our Students with the Desire to Improve Our World, but It Has Also Begun to Bring Teachers from Mathematics, Science, and Even English to the Technology Education Lab at Lower Merion Where True STEM Integration Is Growing

By Piotrowski, Mark; Kressly, Rich | The Technology Teacher, December 2008 | Go to article overview

IED Cleanup: A Cooperative Classroom Robotics Challenge: The Benefits and Execution of a Cooperative Classroom Robotics Challenge: Robotics with a Social Conscience Has Not Only Energized Our Students with the Desire to Improve Our World, but It Has Also Begun to Bring Teachers from Mathematics, Science, and Even English to the Technology Education Lab at Lower Merion Where True STEM Integration Is Growing


Piotrowski, Mark, Kressly, Rich, The Technology Teacher


"Students used to ask, 'Why don't you just give us something to analyze?' What we really want to hear is, 'Show us someone who needs help.' [In order for that to occur] culture shift is required."

Dr. Woodie C. Flowers

MIT Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering (2005)

Introduction

Real-world problem solving, addressing societal needs, and improving the quality of life are all synonymous with technology education and its standards. In Pennsylvania, standard 3.8.12 encourages students to, "Apply the use of ingenuity and technological resources to solve specific societal needs and improve the quality of life" (Pennsylvania Department of Education, 2002). At the national level, Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology (STL) Standards 4, 5, 6, and 13 all relate to the effects and impacts that development and use of technology have on the environment and society in general (ITEA, 2000/2002/2007). However, the problem for the classroom teacher lies within the creation of those engaging, current, and relevant STEM-related problem-solving activities that will have the most impact on students. In our program, we have recently developed an activity that addresses the above stated standards but also has strong interdisciplinary connections. The following classroom challenge was created to incorporate a humanitarian project with the use of the Vex Robotics Design System to remove simulated IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) to a detonation zone within a specified amount of time. The relevance of this activity to students is obvious given the deluge of war coverage in the news media. Some of this media coverage may actually be used as an anticipatory set and as part of the research phase of the design process. Wired Magazine's article titled, "The Baghdad Bomb Squad" (Shachtman, 2005) documents a true humanitarian need for smart machines that can save the lives of soldiers and civilians in a combat zone.

Throughout this activity, named "IED Cleanup," students work in pairs to design and build robots to perform appropriate tasks. However, the entire class works together to develop a strategy, a set of complimentary designs, and a collective plan for implementation to safely dispose of the IEDs. There within lies one of the unique aspects of this activity. Rather than competing against one another, teams of students are cooperating together to solve a problem. They quickly learn that the success of the team/class is dependent upon efforts and communication skills of each individual, which are real-world life skills that apply to college, work, and life within our global society. Most importantly, students are learning the overarching goal of STEM and technology education, which is to use one's skills and knowledge to improve the world in which we live.

Robots in the classroom are not a new idea, and it's true that projects involving the creation of these multisystem creatures can consume entire semesters in a heartbeat. However, our experiences have revealed to us that robotics projects and challenges in the classroom just might be one of the best ways to deliver meaningful STEM instruction and address standards while purposefully helping to develop a more socially conscious student. We're not building toys; we're designing and building complex systems that serve an intended purpose, a humanitarian purpose! And best of all, a diverse range of students is "getting it." They see the interdisciplinary connections of math, science, engineering, and the value of effective communication and strategy. They see the need and "role of society in the development and use of the technology," and the "effects of technology on the environment" as stated in STL 6 and STL 5, respectively. In addition, students quickly come to realize that personal biases and differences are of no use in solving the problem at hand; they must work together. In order to invite the culture shift that Dr. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

IED Cleanup: A Cooperative Classroom Robotics Challenge: The Benefits and Execution of a Cooperative Classroom Robotics Challenge: Robotics with a Social Conscience Has Not Only Energized Our Students with the Desire to Improve Our World, but It Has Also Begun to Bring Teachers from Mathematics, Science, and Even English to the Technology Education Lab at Lower Merion Where True STEM Integration Is Growing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.