Underwater LEGO Robotics as the Vehicle to Engage Students in STEM: The BUILD IT Project’s First Year of Classroom Implementation

Underwater LEGO Robotics as the Vehicle to Engage Students in STEM: The BUILD IT Project’s First Year of Classroom Implementation

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The BUILD IT project is a university-school collaboration to increase precollege student and teacher interest and achievement in engineering, science, mathematics, and information technology through a novel underwater robotics project that utilizes LEGO Mindstorms kits, the
NXT programmable brick, and related equipment. The project is being implemented in 36 socioeconomically and academically diverse schools throughout New Jersey for students in Grades 7-12. Through a series of increasingly complex challenges, BUILD IT exposes students to science,
mathematics, and engineering concepts such as buoyancy, Newton’s Laws, momentum, density, gear ratios, torque, forces, energy, volume, mass-weight distribution and simple machines. This paper describes the first year of classroom implementation in which teams of students in a variety of classroom settings used LEGO components, wire-guided switches, motors and other equipment to design, construct, and control robots to maneuver in a 3-4 foot deep pool, collect objects, and compete in a project-sponsored statewide underwater robotics contest.

BUILT IT presentation at the American Society for Engineering Education Mid-Atlantic, Hoboken, NJ, October 2008.

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2008