A New Approach to
...putting mathematical concepts into practice
StatBotics teaches teens that math is fun, robots are cool, and learning is easy when you’re curious about how things work. And that, makes you a natural engineer.
How-What-Why Practical Engineering
The How of StatBotics… Solving a Real Problem
When teaching maths, physics, or engineering it is tempting to start with the equation (eg the equation of motion, s=ut+½at²), and then teach the theory. The practical application of the math comes third, if at all. The thing that is missed completely is the description of the original problem that the equation and theory were designed to solve. Following a logical problem solving process, starting with the problem to be solved, is the most natural way for students to learn and, that is the approach that we take in our classes.
The What of StatBotics… Exploring the Concepts
There are several subjects in mathematics that are not covered until high school or college, the reason being that the mathematics is too complex for middle school. Specific examples of this are statistics, calculus, and control theory. The mathematics is complex, but the concepts are not. The concepts themselves are well within the grasp of the average middle school student.
Statistics in particular is becoming more and more important in many areas of science, engineering, economics, biology, and commerce. Our robotics class was originally envisioned as a tool for teaching statistics.
The Why of Statbotics… Bringing Mathematics into Real Life
Having practical understandings of mathematical concepts will help students put advanced mathematics into context when it is time for them to learn the calculations. We will focus on subjects that are crucial in many areas of science and technology, but that are not typically covered in middle school because of their mathematical complexity. We avoid teaching the complex math, but just teach the concepts using the capabilities and strengths of the EV3 system. At this stage in their learning it is much more important that your child understands the concepts than that they can do the maths. The maths can come later, and will come easier if they learn the concepts now.
Roland graduated from Queen Mary College, University of London in 1986 with a Bachelors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering, and has been working in the high tech field in Europe, Canada, and the USA ever since. He received an EV3 robotics kit for Christmas in 2013, built it, played with it, and then put it away. While on a business trip to China, he discovered and started to explore the Lego educational web site, and was struck with the EV3s data logging abilities, and the way that it can put complex engineering concepts within the grasp of middle school kids. From his own experience of going through school in the 1970's he was very aware of how math tends to be taught for math's sake, with little practical application. Inspired by EV3's ability to make math practical and relevant, he started to develop his Practical Engineering Through Lego Robotics curriculum, initially for his own son, but soon for other children and their parents at various after school programs. He has been teaching his curriculum for 18 months now, and is excited to be offering a summer camp with Berkeley Academy for the first time.