Schools robotics day at UC Davis and in Orange County

C-STEM Day, the annual celebration of school students' skills in programming, robotics and math, will be held on Saturday, May 31, at the University of California, Davis, and at UC Irvine with over 100 student robotics teams expected to take part.

The UC Davis event will be held at the ARC Pavilion on campus, and the Orange County event will be at UC Irvine's Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. Both events run from 8.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are open to the public.

C-STEM Day is the culminating experience for middle- and high-school students who have been working for the past year with science, technology, engineering and math curricula developed by the UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education, with support from the National Science Foundation. The students used small reconfigurable robots, the Barobo Linkbots, to learn programming, algebra, and math in a fun and accessible way.

"We are delighted to be expanding C-STEM Day to two sites this year, allowing us to engage more teachers and students in integrated learning of computing and robotics," said Harry Cheng, the center's director and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC Davis.

The day's events will include two competitions, RoboPlay Video and RoboPlay Challenge. For the RoboPlay Video competition, the teams produce and submit original videos featuring their robots. Competitors in the RoboPlay Challenge will be presented with a series of problems to solve by applying their knowledge of robotics, math, design and their programming skills. The UC Davis site will also host a Math Programming Competition at a campus computer lab.

Hewlett-Packard's Roseville office is supporting C-STEM Day by donating 80 laptop computers for student teams to use at the UC Davis Pavilion and providing 35 wireless tablets for use by judges. HP employees Rex Schrader and Collette Adams, along with other staff, organized the donation and as volunteers have helped create the C-STEM Day challenges. After the event, the C-STEM Center will give sets of the donated laptops to the School of Engineering and Sciences at the Sacramento City Unified School District and to Elkhorn Village Elementary School in the Washington Unified School District of West Sacramento. These are two C-STEM schools with a large number of socially and economically disadvantaged students.

STEM Grant

In partnership with the Yolo County Office of Education, the C-STEM Center recently received a $1.5 million grant from the California Department of Education to fund professional development in mathematics, technology, and engineering for teachers in all five Yolo County school districts as well as eight regional rural, suburban, and urban high-need school districts in the greater Sacramento area. Over fifty highly qualified teachers in grades 6-12 are being recruited to participate in the project.

STEM for teachers

The center also offers summer and on-site professional development for teachers on integrating computer programming and robotics into their classrooms. This year, the center will hold the C-STEM Summer Institute on Integrated Computing and STEM Education on June 30-July 11 on the UC Davis campus. The center will also hold the 4th Annual Conference on Integrated Computing and STEM Education on Saturday, November 8, 2014. The conference provides a forum for K-14 STEM teachers, researchers, educators, policymakers, and industrial partners to discuss and influence the future direction of integrated computing and STEM education.

Robotics for girls’ summer camp

The C-STEM Center will run the GIRLs Leadership Camp on Computing and Robotics August 4-8 at UC Davis. The camp is aimed at girls entering the seventh or eighth grade this fall. They will get an introduction to math, computing and robotics, knowledge that will equip them to inspire others when they go back to school. Applications are due by June 6.

Starting in Fall 2015, C-STEM will be added as an option for new undergraduate applicants at all UC campuses as a UC-approved educational preparation program. C-STEM student and team awards are now also recognized in the UC admissions process as achievements that have explicitly prepared students for college and careers.

In addition to the National Science Foundation, the C-STEM Center receives generous support from many partners, including HP, Sandia National Laboratories, Intel, Boeing, Barobo, SoftIntegration, Stratasys, Paton Group and Aerojet. The Orange County event also received support from Coastline Regional Occupational Program.

Media Resources

Andy Fell, Research news (emphasis: biological and physical sciences, and engineering), 530-752-4533,

Heidi Espindola, C-STEM Center, (530) 752-9082,

Merry Kim, Coastline Regional Occupational Program (Orange County),

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