The Olympia School District is in a multi-year process of implementing a CTE STEM Robotics program. This program will use STEM Robotics as a platform for engaging students in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, project management and teamwork skills. Students from grades 7-12 will learn to design, construct, program and operate robots in the context of solving challenges and participating in robotics competitions.
The Olympia School District has partnered with two National Science Foundation projects to pioneer the development and deployment of our STEM Robotics 101 curriculum and teacher collaboration site. Over 50 teachers from a dozen Washington school districts have been trained in STEM Robotics 101 and over 200 teachers (from 5 continents) have received teacher-accounts on the site.
Additionally, OSD has pursued private funding to establish STEM Robotics programs below the 7th grade level (the lower limit of CTE funding). The LEGO Smart Schools Grant has allow STEM Pals to create matching-fund donation opportunities to equip the pre-STEM Robotics programs in STEM Mechanics and PATS.
The robotics program uses an extensive amount of technology in the form of robotics kits, computers and software. Individual donations and corporate sponsors are needed to meet the funding requirements of having adequate equipment in place for this rapidly expanding program.
The OSD STEM Robotics program is aligned with the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization, which allows students to not only construct robots to solve classroom challenges, but also compete in regional, state, national and international competitions. When competing, the robotics teams need mentors, coaches and sponsors.
The OSD STEM Robotics program also hosts various FIRST robotics competition events. When hosting events, volunteers and sponsors are needed to operate and support the event.