Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 04:23 p.m.

    Great video, loved hearing the student voices. They looked very engaged. How many students have been involved in the program? How can you scale this up? Is the program written up in enough detail for other science centers to implement it? Maybe I am getting ahead of myself, but would be excited to hearing next steps. Thanks for this video.

  • Icon for: Mercedes McKay

    Mercedes McKay

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 04:57 p.m.

    Thanks! Our research has tracked approximately 2,500 middle and high school students (in both classroom and out-of-school settings) using WaterBotics in 5 states. Although we are no longer collecting educator or student data, WaterBotics continues to be implemented by the hub sites and is also commercially available. It has been purchased for use by educators in dozens of states and a few countries. We estimate many thousands of students have engaged in the program. The curriculum has very detailed instructions, photos, diagrams, videos, and other resources so that educators with very little STEM background can successfully implement the program. We have implemented training programs using a hybrid model and eventually hope to have more online asynchronous professional development modules.

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 09:06 a.m.

    I’d be interested in more info for my son’s school, which has struggled to keep a First Lego League program going. Having all the support materials for teachers is critical in our experience, since the teachers can be a bit intimidated by the Lego robotic kits (though the kids dive right it!). I’m wondering how much “professional development” you found to be optimal and how much time is required? Also, does the program have assessment tools and are these aligned with the national science standards? Our school used FLL for afterschool, but it’d be great to have it integrated into the curriculum. Oh, and wow what a great campus location!

  • Icon for: Mercedes McKay

    Mercedes McKay

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 09:47 a.m.

    For educators with little or no STEM or robotics experience, at least 3 days of hands-on professional development is recommended. More may be desired especially to fully cover the programming components. For more experienced educators, 1 day of face-to-face training followed by a series of 3-4 online sessions to cover/review programming worked well. Full implementation of the WaterBotics curriculum with youth takes approximately 20 – 26 hours. It can be implemented as a 1-week camp program or spread out over a number of weeks as part of a school class or after-school club. We also developed an optional, non-programming version of the curriculum. Students engage in exactly the same engineering design challenges but instead of controlling their robots by programs they develop, they use simple hand-held remote controls. The overall implementation time is less (approx. 14 – 18 hours) and it may appeal to younger students or those who have less time to implement the program. We assessed student learning of gears, buoyancy, programming, and understanding of engineering as part of our research, and these assessments are available for educators to use if they so desire. WaterBotics addresses a variety of nationally recognized standards. Details may be found at http://waterbotics.org/curriculum/standards/ .

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 10:20 a.m.

    Thanks, the website is extremely helpful! Any plans to scale up the summer camp aspect of the program? For purely selfish reasons I’d love to have one in Chicago. I know that the Talent Development Center at NU and the local science and children museums all have substantial summer offerings. Have you considered reaching out to such institutions in other cities to expand the reach of your program?

  • Icon for: Mercedes McKay

    Mercedes McKay

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:47 a.m.

    We’re actually at the very end of a 5-yr scale-up program in which we expanded the program from classroom-based implementation in NJ to both classroom and out-of-school programs in different regions around the U.S. Through partnerships with the National Girls Collaborative Project, selected community colleges, and ITEEA, we’ve conducted educator professional development and implemented summer camp programs through a “train-the-trainer” type of operation. In fact, one of the partners is Triton College just outside of Chicago! They have conducted summer camps and educator institutes for the last few years. I will try to get info about their 2015 summer plans to post here shortly.

  • Icon for: Mercedes McKay

    Mercedes McKay

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 12:17 p.m.

    Please see http://waterbotics.org/opportunities/camps/ for information about a camp program at Triton College this summer.

  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    May 12, 2015 | 12:19 p.m.

    Great, thanks! I hope this keeps expanding…

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 02:39 a.m.

    WaterBotics seems like just the right program for summer getting students to think about engineering, science, and fun. You mentioned that WaterBotics increases IT career awareness how specifically is this point demonstrated, I understand the engineering design and all that goes into making a vehicle move underwater, but not quite sure what IT aspects is demonstrated here. Is there programming of these robots. How much investment does school/or a school district have to pay upfront to have this program in their school. Where in Texas is this program currently taking place?

  • Icon for: Mercedes McKay

    Mercedes McKay

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 12:17 p.m.

    Thanks for your questions. Yes, programming is a significant component of WaterBotics. Students design, build and then program the controllers used to maneuver their robots in the water. The cost to schools varies depending on how much LEGO equipment they may already have on hand. For those with no LEGO equipment at all, a complete kit of everything needed to implement WaterBotics with a group of 20-25 students is approximately $4,000. There are very few consumables and the equipment can be re-used many times. The curriculum itself is $200 and contains very detailed directions and resources although people with little or no STEM background would likely benefit from additional hands-on professional development. WaterBotics has been implemented by numerous organizations across Texas through training provided by the Texas Girls Collaborative Project. Please see their website for more information and upcoming opportunities. Note that WaterBotics is promoted as “Water Works” by the Texas Girls Collaborative Project. http://txgcp.org/

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 06:39 a.m.

    Thanks, for the respond. I believe this is a great opportunity to teach engineering in a fun environment. I will certainly at the link and see how this is working in Texas and see what and how communities that do not have funds can get find ways to teach engineering using alternative tools inspired by the WaterBotics.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

Icon for: Mercedes McKay
Facilitators’
Choice

WaterBotics: Dive into Engineering Design
NSF Award #: 0929674

WaterBotics® is an innovative, underwater robotics curriculum that can be used in traditional classrooms or out-of-school settings. Teams of middle or high school students work together to design, build, program, test, and redesign underwater robots made of LEGO and other components.

Developed by Stevens Institute of Technology’s Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) and originally implemented in New Jersey classrooms, it has now expanded to Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Kentucky and the Pacific Northwest as part of an NSF ITEST scale-up program. The goal of the program is to provide hands-on experiences for middle and high school age youth in engineering design, information technology tools and science concepts, and to increase awareness and interest in engineering and IT careers.