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Tim Balz: Student & Freedom Chairs Founder

Tufts OKEE engineering programAs a high school sophomore, Tim Balz refurbished his first motorized wheelchair and gave it to a fellow student. Today, Freedom Chairs, the nonprofit he founded and continues to run as a mechanical engineering student at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, has distributed 130 wheelchairs worldwide while he has won awards as a wheelchair innovator and entrepreneur.

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FIRST STEM Equity Grants

DC McKinley Tech FIRST robotics team 2010To broaden access and reduce inequities in STEM education and after-school programming, FIRST® has partnered with Apple and Microsoft to provide grants of up to $50,000 to as many as 15 communities in United States and Canada for the coming school year. Letters of intent are due March 11, 2016.

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Nat Geo Engineering Challenge

Dead Vlei, Namib DesertHow do you study an animal that can’t sit still or an environment so extreme you can’t visit? National Geographic Education’s Engineering Exploration Challenge (NGX) asks children 6 to 18 to follow the engineering design process to develop, build, and test robots to solve big challenges that explorers often face in the field.

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‘Bot Diggity: r-one Robots For All

Bot Diggity robotsThey clean floors, deliver drinks, fetch like puppies, even tell jokes. But can personal robots improve engineering education?

James McLurkin, an assistant professor of computer science at Rice University, certainly thinks so. And no wonder. The pioneer of swarming robotics has seen his bagel-size ’bot transform an introductory engineering course into an unabashedly fun way to convey circuits, mechanics, and other core concepts.

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National Robotics Week 2015

National Robotics Week 2015 logoA Robot Block Party on the campus of Brown University in Providence, R.I., FIRST Robotics and LEGO League contests, and Botball regionals in New Mexico are just some of the 250-plus events taking place around the country during National Robotics Week.

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Robot Soccer Challenge

robocup 2009In this activity, part of a robotics design curricular unit, teams of students in grades 4 – 8 learn how to program LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT intelligent bricks so that one can remotely control the other, gaining skills and an appreciation for wireless communications as they play “robot soccer.”

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Program a Friend

man in mazeIn this activity, students working in pairs learn basic computer programming and software engineering concepts by building an obstacle course, then steering a blindfolded friend through it by using a series of commands. They re-run the maze to improve on their “program.”

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National Robotics Week 2013

robotFrom regional FIRST Robotics competitions to a day of special events at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., the country will mark National Robotics Week April 6 – 14 with a host of engaging, hands-on activities. Find activities in your area.

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Activity: Robot Basketball

basketball robotIn this activity, students in grades 5 to 12 learn about accuracy, precision, and simple machines by working in teams to design and build a robotic basketball “player” that can nail a free-throw shot three times in a row.

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