Students around Pima County using robots to boost STEM learning

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 8:48 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Robots will soon be entering fourth and fifth grade classrooms around Pima County to boost STEM learning.

“It’s actual coding, starting with visual coding and literally getting into line coding like python, which is what people use in different industries. They’ll be learning about engineering because the robots are LEGO compatible,” said DaNel Hogan, the director of the Pima County STEMAZing Project.

Hogan is leading the training for instructors who will be using the robots in their classrooms.

“It’s just a morale boost for the teachers. It’s been a real difficult couple years obviously. To be able to give them the equipment and the supplies to get them excited is really worth its weight in gold,” she said.

Twenty teachers across the Amphi, TUSD and Marana school districts have chosen to participate, and more than 500 robots will be dispersed among six elementary schools.

This includes Copper Creek Elementary, Donaldson Elementary, Harelson Elementary, Innovation Academy, Dove Mountain CSTEM K8 and Oyama Elementary. Each student will be able to learn with their own robot.

Oro Valley realtor, Lisa Bayless, invested more than $25,000 to make this project a reality.

“I just think it’s such an amazing learning opportunity for all of them,” Bayless said.

The students from the different schools will also get to collaborate. They plan to have the students use Zoom to share their ideas and learn from each other.

“There’s no right answer to how to program or what to do with the robot,” she said. “So, to explore their different approaches and the different paths to critical thinking.”

Bayless said she’s excited to give students across Pima County access to such an important learning tool.

“They’re going to have so much fun, they’re not even going to know they’re learning,” she said. The teachers will have one more training in early October before the students begin the robotics program.

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