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Chamisa's Adelaide Jacobson Attends Robotics Academy At Carnegie Mellon University

on September 4, 2014 - 7:50am
Chamisa teacher Adelaide Jacobson is among those who participated in the Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Academy. Courtesy photo


Funded by a Professional Development Grant from the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation, Chamisa Elementary School teacher Adelaide Jacobson joined a diverse group of educators from around the United States, Indonesia, Ireland, Madagascar, Qatar and Viet Nam for a week in July at the Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) Robotics Academy in Pittsburgh, PA..

Of the 24 “teacher students” in the course, Jacobson estimates that about 75 percent teach at middle and high schools. Many of her classmates were involved or very familiar with the First Lego League robotics competition. The mission of the CMU Robotics Academy is to, use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about science and technology.

“The idea behind robotics in a club setting or in the classroom is to provide physical application of textbook concepts,” Jacobson said. “It allows students to develop and apply problem solving and critical thinking skills. Programming a robot to perform an action forces an individual to break down the desired action into small steps which must be tested incrementally to accomplish the final action.”

The robotics team at Chamisa will be purchasing three new LEGO-EV3 kits this school year for a total of six EV3 kits for use with students.

The following is an excerpt from the July 9, 2014, Huffington Post article by Julie Dobrow the CMU Robotics Academy:

Robin Shoop, Director of the CMU Robotics Academy, believes that some of the work they are doing at CMU can make learning come alive. “Robots provide the hook that can be used to excite students about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts. Robotics activities in and of themselves will not improve STEM academic performance, but if robotics technologies are introduced correctly, and the STEM academic concepts are properly foregrounded, then robotics provides an excellent organizer to teach kids about STEM.”

“It’s a common misconception that involving robots in a curriculum or afterschool program makes STEM magic happen, said Ross Higashi, lead curriculum developer at CMU. “That’s simply not true… Robotics presents a wealth of opportunities to teach meaningful content. But doing that, it’s not trivial. It’s hard work. You need well-targeted lessons, and you need a teacher who can support students who are learning by doing. In the end, though, as many students and teachers will tell you: it’s absolutely worth it, and the hardest fun they’ve ever had.”