December 16, 2017

STEM Lab Encourages 21st Century ‘Basic Skills’

Jacob Walker shows the robotic mower he and Ryan Stotler built for the most recent STEM Lab challenge.

Ryan Stotler observes the programmed mower removing LEGO® debris from a designated area.

Robotics Projects Teach Programming and Problem-Solving

Our increasingly computerized world demands a new set of workforce skills. Linden Grove School’s new STEM Lab (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) uses robotics projects to encourage the development of these new skills: skills like data analysis, creative thinking and problem solving.

The STEM Lab’s most recent challenge consisted of building and programming a LEGO® “mower” to clear a designated area of LEGO® debris. Students first considered the best design for moving debris, and then used data to effectively program their mower to move appropriate distances and execute turns, as needed.

Robotics activities provide immediate feedback, satisfying a student’s desire for success and creating the motivation to continue learning. Students also learn about robotics technologies used in modern industries from agriculture to healthcare to manufacturing.

More importantly, they develop basic skills for living and working in the 21st century.

 

STEM Employers Increase Recruitment of People with Autism

Studies have shown people with autism are drawn to STEM fields more often than the general population. Such individuals tend to have strengths in systemizing, memorizing and rule-based systems.

The U.S. Department of Labor projects 1.2 million job openings in STEM fields by 2018 and a shortage of 95 million skilled workers by 2020. In response, companies like Microsoft and Freddie Mac are increasing recruitment among individuals with autism to fill a variety of positions from coding to data analysis to support services.