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News and Events

Stevenson students learn about robotics, benefit from U of M College of Science & Engineering visit
Posted 11/14/2019 02:20PM


Eleven 4th grade students from Stevenson Elementary had the opportunity to program, control and interact with robots at the University of Minnesota (U of M) College of Science and Engineering on October 28, 2019. The students visited the college campus to learn from current U of M engineering undergrad and graduate students. 

“It's so important for our young scholars to have the opportunity to envision themselves at a college campus,” said district equity and inclusion specialist Hope Laroche, who is based out of Stevenson Elementary. “Our students loved meeting these college students and learning about computer science, engineering and robotics. We want to expose our students to these possibilities early so we can help provide the resources and additional opportunities to get to where they want to be.”

During the field trip, the Stevenson scholars were led through a series of robotics stations. Students began with a sequencing exercise to program and code a robot based on color-coded markings on a sheet of paper. Students then learned how to program a robot to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

“They realized how many details and steps that robots need to put together a sandwich,” said Laroche. “There is so much to sequencing because you can’t finish the following steps until the first ones are completed.”

The 4th graders also learned about amphibious and aerial drones, observing and learning about advanced robotics and their capabilities.

“Particularly, the students loved seeing the amphibian robot in action,” said Laroche. “It could dive underwater, pick up samples at the bottom of a pond, and swim up and crawl onto the land. They were able to see, touch and interact with the robot.”

After the trip, Laroche conducted a survey with the students. Eight of the 11 said they want to become an engineer when they grow older.  “It was awesome for our students to imagine the possibilities, especially those who have never been exposed to engineering before,” she said.

The field trip was provided to Stevenson students by Northwest Suburban Integration School District (NWSISD), a seven-district magnet school consortium in the northwest metro. As an International Baccalaureate World School district, Fridley Public Schools is a member of NWSISD.



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