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STEM Education: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and… Robots?!

April 22, 2022 12:00 AM
By: PDE Press and Communications Office

From basketball-shooting robots to first responder drones and anything in between, schools across the country are using robotics clubs and programs to make STEM learning more fun for students of all ages. For a lot of students, robotics sparks a lifelong love for science and technology, and inspires young people to be leaders and innovators, and fosters well-rounded life capabilities like self-confidence, communication, and leadership. 

Robotics inspires audiences of all ages to explore careers in robotics and other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math fields. Many schools across the US (and the world!) have robotics teams and participate in competitions both here and internationally. In fact, there are over 140 registered robotics teams in schools throughout Pennsylvania. Teams of all different ages compete head-to-head, designing, building, and programming a robot to complete a series of assigned tasks. They first compete locally to qualify for the state championship, and then compete to qualify for the world championship. 

Pennsylvania is home to several robotics teams that have made headlines recently. 

From Coatesville, the Out of the Box Robotics team is made up of 12 members from 8 different schools, and has logged more than 3,000 man hours in their eight years of experience. Out of the Box Robotics was also a recent recipient of the Inspire Award, which is the highest award in the FIRST Tech Challenge Program. Receiving this award means they will be competing in the FTC world championship in Houston, TX. Of the 6,300 FTC teams globally, only 160 are honored to compete at the world championship.

In Pittsburgh, Yinz Girlz is climbing the ranks of the Lego League Challenge competition. After winning the Western Pennsylvania level of the competition, they will travel to Texas for the championships where this year's theme is "Cargo Connect" - working to find ways to reach people in trouble. They wanted to gain knowledge of problems faced by first responders on the job, and based on feedback from first responders, decided to focus on helping people stranded by floods, hurricanes, and war. The team created an airdrop system with a drone attachment and researched which nonperishable items they could deliver to stranded people, making sure they could give them the right things while also being lightweight so the drone wouldn't fall.

Robotics programs give students more than just skills - they also give students opportunities. From networking to scholarships and beyond, students of all ages can benefit from participating in their local robotics teams.

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