The seventh annual C-STEM Day and RoboPlay Competition will take place at UC Davis and in Orange County on Saturday, May 20. Elementary, middle and high school students who have been taking classes developed by the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education over the past year will gather to show off their skills in robotics, programming and math.
The event will include 82 teams at the UC Davis ARC Pavilion and another 48 at University High School, Irvine, taking part in the RoboPlay Challenge Competition, using their programming skills to solve problems using robots. There are also about 40 teams presenting videos they have made for the Roboplay Video Competition.
Both events run from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are open to the public.
For participating schools, C-STEM Day caps a year of working with computing, robotics and math curricula developed by the UC Davis C-STEM Center. Over the past school year, the students have used small robots and the center’s software to learn programming, algebra and math in a fun and accessible way.
Integrated programming and math
The UC Davis C-STEM Center, founded and led by Harry Cheng, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, develops courses that teach math by integrating it with computer programming and robotics. The classes have shown success in closing the “achievement gap” for underperforming students, and have coveted “A-G Program Status” from the University of California, meaning that they fulfill admission requirements for the UC and California State University systems.
The C-STEM Center has released a complete curriculum for first through 12th grade, the C-STEM Math Information and Communication Technologies Curriculum, or Math-ICT Curriculum. The curriculum allows school districts to offer every student hands-on computer science and math classes.
The center has also released C-STEM Studio and RoboBlockly, a puzzle-piece programming tool for working with both real and virtual robots.
In March, the center recently released a version of C-STEM tools for the low-cost Raspberry Pi computer system.
All the C-STEM curricula, software and tools are available as free downloads from the center’s website.
Summer camps and training for teachers
This summer, the center is again offering the Girls in Robotics Leadership (GIRL) camps for middle school girls at locations in Davis, Vallejo, Mt. Diablo, Marysville, and in Cincinnati, Ohio. The one-week camps are free to participants.
Teachers can learn how to use the C-STEM software and curricula in summer workshops, including a free workshop on Raspberry Pi and Arduino with a free C-STEM Raspberry Pi and Arduino Kit from Vilros, organized by the center. Currently, events are planned in Davis, San Diego, Fairfield, Napa, Oroville, and in Boise, Idaho. No previous programming experience is required. Teachers taking the institutes will be ready to use C-STEM curriculum in their classrooms this fall. More information on C-STEM professional development for teachers is available online.
Support for the center and C-STEM Day comes from the National Science Foundation, California Department of Education, Barobo Inc., SoftIntegration Inc., Vilros and other sponsors.