Stanton Elementary students put their STEM knowledge to use by crafting solar-powered robots in the classroom.
Sixth-grade teacher Jordan Tice said the unit takes the science concepts of electricity, light and solar power and combines them when her 59 students engineer their own robots. Her pupils began the eight-day unit by learning about electricity and solar energy, then they created posters and diagramed the concept they had learned. They worked in groups of three to four people and built a level one robot utilizing the 14-in-1 Educational Solar Robot Kits from OwiKit.
“Once their robot is complete, students time how long the robot takes to travel three feet. They will repeat the process three times and then find the average time. In sixth grade, students learn to find the mean, median, mode and range. When all of the groups are done, they will calculate these concepts and then graph their results,” Tice added. “The students will then move on to level two robots and repeat the process. To end this unit, the students will create and sail robot boats.”
She said the purpose of the project is to help students solve problems and think in a creative way, all while reviewing math skills and extending science concepts. She also wants them to see the skills they learn in the classroom can be applied in a multitude of different disciplines.
“I chose this project because I could tie in math and science concepts in a fun, hands-on and engaging way,” she noted. “The students have known about this project and could not wait to get started. They were all excited to work on this with their friends and do more than a paper-and-pencil assignment. Once the groups started getting the robots to move, it encouraged them to try to build a higher level robot. Some groups even took the initiative to create their own robot.”
The kits were funded through a Best Practices Grant Tice obtained through the Jefferson County Educational Service Center and she was grateful to have the funding for her innovative project.
“Thank you to the JCESC for providing the grant so teachers can provide opportunities like this for their students.
(Photo Cutline: Dylan Falla and Kylee Day, sixth-grade students at Stanton Elementary, use light to operate their solar-powered robot that was created as part of a STEM-based assignment.)