Though The STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Robotics Challenge Club was not a gifted initiative, gifted cluster teacher Nancy Saunders worked with second grade teacher Amy Godfrey on the project, and some of our gifted kids won honors in the competition. The challenge required students to use the skills of critical and creative thinking, design, drilling, sautering, photography and report writing among others to build two remote control robots from scratch and then operate them during a competition involving 22 schools. The investment of over 100 hours in after school preparation paid off as one of the Landstown teams won the honor of Best All Around Elementary School. The students won this honor because they skillfully completed all of the requirements which included reports, photos and videos.
Ms. Saunders said of the students, “We are very excited and proud of them. The winning team, comprised of 3 girls and 3 boys, is deserving of this distinction and recognition. They did all of the work themselves with negligible help from any adult. In fact, the adults and other teams went to them for help! They understood how everything was supposed to work and were excellent trouble shooters and problem solvers. Even with seconds to go before a match began, they figured out how to get their robot working.”
This authentic application of problem solving is a great example of 21st Century teaching and learning and all students benefited. Of particular note, however, is the fact that the competition puts girls in the middle of science, math and technology—a discipline that has historically been lacking in female participants.
Innovation is the wave of the future and these students have caught a ride. Do what you can to continue to nurture their skills and interests!