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Event: CSM VEX Robotics Challenge

The College of Southern Maryland, La Plata campus will be using the popular VEX Robotics Competition Clean Sweep game in their Senior division robotics competition on April 10. The Junior division, taking place on the same date, is called “The Save the Bay Robotics Competition,” and it consists of eight robotic challenges designed to mimic the types of tasks a robot would accomplish if it was cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. The Junior division is for elementary and middle school students, while the Senior division is for high school students. This is a regional event that draws teams from Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia.

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Survey: Professors Discourage STEM Pursuits

A recent survey of women and underrepresented minorities who hold STEM degrees found that many of them were discouraged from seeking their careers. But, what was, perhaps, eyebrow-raising was that most of those affected said the discouragement came from college professors.

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What Does ‘College Ready’ Mean?

Around half of all high school graduates who enroll in college don’t finish, and a recent poll of employers found that 40 percent of the new grads they hire don’t have the skills necessary to advance in their jobs. But experts agree that, so far, there is no good way to measure how college- and career-ready students are; hence the White House making $350 million available to states to develop new assessments.

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Event: Regional Botball Tournaments

BotballBotball Tournaments are being held around the country. The Botball Educational Robotics Program engages middle and high school aged students in a team-oriented robotics competition based on national science education standards. By designing, building, programming, and documenting robots, students use science, engineering, technology, math, and writing skills in a hands-on project that reinforces their learning. These are the regional Botball tournaments for which the deadlines have not passed as of March 30.

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Training Teachers in Engineering Instruction

The Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning at Purdue University’s School of Engineering Education has partnered with PBS’s TeacherLine, a web-based professional development program, to educate elementary school teachers on how to teach engineering concepts to their young charges.

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Curriculum: Learning Roomba

iRobot Create Modified Educational RobotThe Learning Roomba educational toolkit attempts to address robotics usability issues by keeping total costs down while making the tools as easy to use as possible. This toolkit is a collection of resources and tools to facilitate teaching robotics to pre-college students. Through these resources, students can learn about science, math, and engineering topics in a fun and exciting way.

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Activity: The BristleBot

BristleBotBristleBots are one variety of the popular vibrobot, a simple category of robot controlled by a single vibrating motor. This BristleBot is made from a toothbrush and a few low-cost materials and can easily be modified for additional challenge.

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A Call for a Longer School Year

Do American schoolkids need to spend more time at school? Yes, argues Charles E. Finn Jr., a former assistant secretary of education. Chinese students spend 41 more days a year in school than does the average American, but change is reaching our shores.

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Math Gender Gap Disappears in U.S.

American girls have closed the mathematics gender gap. That’s the finding of a new study by the Center on Education Policy, which has been tracking gender differences among U.S. students in math and reading since 2002. While girls have traditionally trailed boys when it comes to math skills, particularly at the elementary school level, the study finds that boys and girls are now roughly equally proficient at math at all three levels: elementary, middle school and high school.

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