Yeah, yeah, some of you took today off for President’s Day, but did you know that one of the men you’re celebrating is also recognized as our nation’s first engineer? That’s why in 1951 the National Society for Professional Engineers chose this as National Engineers Week to raise awareness of engineers’ positive contributions to quality of life. We’re taking the opportunity to raise awareness of a Fellow who teaches engineering to the students who will be making those positive contributions.
Last summer, Therese Block (STEM instructor at Lincoln Junior High in Skokie, IL) used her FFT grant to attend training at the National Robotics Engineering Center associated with the world-renowned Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute in Pittsburgh, PA. Her goal was to develop advanced design and programming skills for designing challenging competitions specific to middle school students. This fall, she did just that – expanding her plans to incorporate the rest of the township’s schools.
“With what I learned on my fellowship, I developed a competition for middle schoolers and have had two tournaments this year,” said Therese. “Our competition, which we named High Stack, has been a huge success and will continue to grow. Seven schools and over 30 teams participated in the last competition and our school will host the district’s final tournament in March.”
In addition, Therese’s students will present their robots later this month at the Illinois Computing Teachers annual conference, where she will speak on starting a competitive middle school robotics program.
“Being able to learn from the experts in the field made me confident that my students will be learning skills at the highest level,” said Therese. “I learned a lot and was able to make my dream come true.”
Interested in starting a competitive robotics program at your school? Theresa graciously is sharing the manual she created here.