Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about STEM

Changing Culture in Robotics Classrooms (CCRC)

Thank you for showing interest in our Changing Culture in Robotics Classrooms (CCRC) project. This is a three-year project supported by the National Science Foundation that begins September 2015 and runs through June 2018. The CCRC project will use a combination of robotics competition activities, a modified autonomous only competition that we will design each year, and curriculum and training from the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy designed to help teachers to teach programming in their robotics classrooms.

Project Goal

The goal of the project is to develop and test curricular materials that extend robotic curricula’s ability to teach computational thinking (see table 1). The Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy will post new materials online as we have done in the past (ROBOTC Graphical for VEX IQROBOTC for VEX CortexROBOTC Graphical for MINDSTORMSROBOTC for LEGO MINDSTORMS, and Introduction to Programming LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3), enabling all teachers to take advantage of the lessons that we develop. Our goal is to develop robotics curriculum that integrates the emerging Computer Science Principles concepts into your robotics course.

Students and Teachers will earn a Robotics Programming Certification. In the CCRC project, our research is testing the ability of badges and certifications to motivate students to learn computer science concepts in robotics classrooms. Students and teachers that complete the course materials and pass the checkpoint tests will have the opportunity to earn a Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy Robotics Programming Certification. Students that are led by “Certified Teachers” will be able to earn a higher-level certification. Certified Teachers will have the opportunity to track their students’ progress using our Learning Management System.

In the 2014-2015 school year, our focus is on testing and improving entry-level curriculum for new programmers. The programming environment that we will begin testing with is based on the new ROBOTC Graphical Interface. Students and teachers can join the project at any time during the school year by signing up at this link:

Table 1. Changing Culture of Robotics Classroom’s projected year-long class
FallWinterThese materials will not be ready for testing until Spring 2016
Activity Robotics Competition (this could be an official competition or a teacher-led in-class competition) Modified Autonomous Competition (MAC) CS Principles Robotics Unit (CSPRU) – This Unit is scheduled to be developed during the spring and summer of 2015. It will be tested locally in the fall of 2015 and be ready for national implementation in Spring 2016.
What Students Do Students compete in an existing robotics competition such as FLL, FTC, VEX, or VEX IQ Students compete in a MAC version of an existing competition designed to stress sophisticated autonomous operation Students engage in design-based learning units in which they design algorithmic solutions to robotics problems
Primary Content Mechanics and Basic Programming, ideation and creativity Autonomous Programming with an emphasis on decision-making logic High-level problem solving, abstraction, and algorithmic design
Relevant CS Principles Focus Areas Creativity, Programming (Basic) Creativity, Abstractions, Programming Creativity, Abstractions, Algorithms
RVW Role Direct simulation of robotics challenge to support teams in competitions Primary activity platform: modified challenges are played through RVWs Primary activity platform: problem is presented in virtual space, and solutions must function in RVW environment
Curriculum Supports Use existing Robotics Academy ROBOTC for MINDSTORMS, ROBOTC for VEX, and VEX IQ Curriculum Advanced lessons will be developed this fall and tested as they are being developed New problem scenarios that include appropriate instructional supports

• Bootcamp
• Parallels Desktop
• VMWare Fusion

If you are still unsure, both the ROBOTC and Robot Virtual Worlds software come with free trial periods for you to evaluate. If you have additional questions please contact us.