Robotics in the Classroom: Azusa Unified School District
STEM education is rapidly gaining popularity among schools and districts across the world as it provides students with hands-on learning experiences that are relevant to real-world situations. One way to enhance STEM education is through the use of robotics kits, which offer a fun and interactive way for students to engage with the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
UBTECH Education supported a district-wide implementation of Beginner and Intermediate UKITs in innovation centers in a southern California district.
Azusa Unified School District is currently implementing UKITs across ten elementary schools, with a cross-age implementation approach. For example, Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) students in Grades 5-6 learned first at Powell Elementary and then trained every class in Grades 2-6.
The UKITs are anchored in innovation centers, which are designated spaces in the school where students can collaborate and engage in STEM activities. The UKIT Beginner sets are designed for younger students and provide an introduction to robotics and programming, while the Intermediate UKITs are more advanced, allowing for the creation of more complex robots.
To ensure that teachers were fully prepared to use the robotics kits in their classrooms, UBTECH provided multi-session in-person professional development sessions. These PD sessions were attended by teachers from multiple schools, which allowed for a consistent approach to the implementation of the kits across the district. By offering hands-on training, teachers were able to learn how to use the UKITs effectively and confidently, which in turn helped to create a positive learning experience for students.
The impact of the district’s implementation of STEM robotics kits was significant. Students were engaged in hands-on learning experiences that helped develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, and creativity. These experiences gave students a hands-on approach to the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while allowing them to see how they are interconnected and relevant to their daily lives.
Additionally, the cross-age implementation approach allowed for peer-to-peer learning and increased student engagement, as older students were able to share their knowledge and skills with younger students.
The district’s implementation of STEM robotics kits also had a positive impact on teachers. By attending the UBTECH PD sessions, teachers were able to enhance their skills in teaching STEM subjects and gained confidence in using the UKITs in their classrooms. The implementation of the kits also helped to foster a culture of collaboration among teachers, as they were able to share best practices and ideas for using the kits effectively.
The implementation of UKITs across Azusa Unified has provided students with engaging and relevant learning experiences unique to hands-on robotics, and provides a valuable example of how schools and districts can enhance STEM education using UKIT solutions.