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2011-2012 Bow Valley - VEX Robotics Programming in Math

VEX Robots and Robotic Programming Technology in Mathematics
Date: September 30, 2011
Name: Dan New
Location: Bow Valley High School
Budget: $13903.77

Description of technology
As we move further into the 21st Century, the demand on students to be technologically proficient is increasing exponentially.  Now, more than ever, businesses and post-secondary institutions are placing great emphasis on the development and utilization of new technology.  Recent breakthroughs in chemistry, medicine, engineering, physics and other applied science fields have presented both new discoveries, as well as a new set of challenges.  These new challenges present a unique opportunity for our students to problem solve through the use of technology.  This global reality indicates that we must begin to foster this next generation of inventors and problem solvers.
The implementation of Robotics programming into existing mathematics curricular study at the High School level allows students to imagine, create, problem solve, relate and innovate, in a variety of settings.  Robotics programming within mathematics gives a practical, affordable, accessible and relatable way of delivering dynamic hands-on interactions within a diverse set of learning modalities.  The nature of studying robotics fosters a desire to succeed.  This, in turn, creates a classroom environment where knowledge application and skill development flourishes in a variety of learning realms and can easily be extended into the greater world.  Perhaps the most exciting characteristic that robotics brings into the classroom is the simultaneous amalgamation of diverse learning styles into a single realm.  Whether learners are concrete or abstract, sequential or random, there is a place for them in the robotics classroom.  It is when these diverse learners get together in the robotics classroom that their expertise can develop and mesh with their peers to program and explore in the world of robotics.

To view a project I completed through my robotics training, please click the blog link below.  This blog also serves as an example of some problems students might encounter in the robotics classroom.
For more information specific to VEX robotics, please visit:
Please view this video about the VEX robotics world championships

Innovative Strategy and Improved Learning Possibilities

Students learn by attaching meaning to what they do, and they need to construct their own meaning of mathematics for optimal success.  At all levels, students benefit from working with a variety of materials, tools and contexts when constructing meaning about new mathematical ideas.

The learning environment should value and respect the diversity of students’ experiences and ways of thinking, so that students are comfortable taking intellectual risks, asking questions and posing conjectures.

Students need to explore problem-solving situations in order to develop personal strategies and become mathematically literate. They must realize that it is acceptable to solve problems in a variety of ways and that a variety of solutions may be acceptable.

The addition of hands on real world experiences through robotics will have students:
• solve mathematical problems
• communicate and reason mathematically
• make connections between mathematics and its applications
• become mathematically literate
• appreciate and value mathematics

Vision for Student Use of Technology

Students will utilize Robots and their associated software to solve unique mathematical problems and challenges.  To do this, students will plan out the physical design for their robot and build their robot with the pieces provided in their kit.  With their robot complete, students will experiment and problem solve through programming software to give the robot characteristics to be successful in solving the challenges given to the student groups.

Connection to RVS 21st Century learning Strategy

This project aligns with Goal 3 and 4 of the RVS 21st Century Learning Strategy.
• Goal 3 – Instruction challenges and engages the learner (3.1, 3.3, 3.4)
Students learning and exploration within the robotics classroom involves a unique set of interactions. Students are presented with new materials, with which they solve problems they have not encountered before. Students must use a variety of skills and self-directed strategies in order to work with these tools for learning.
•Goal 4 – Learning environments enable the acquisition of 21st Century skills (4.1, 4.3)
The demand on students to be technologically proficient as they move through and beyond post-secondary is increasing. New technologies are also emerging at a rapid rate, which places a greater need for our K-12 schools to both present new technologies to students as well as develop students abilities to interact with these technologies in a 21st Century manner. The robotics classroom is an excellent opportunity to foster this environment and learning for students.

Connection to School Education Plan
Bow Valley High School’s mission statement places great value on students’ needs as diverse learners. It also identifies the need for students to learn the collaborative and personal skills necessary to sustain life long learning. The BVHS Education plan goes further to explain that these needs are met through providing students with self-directed learning in a rich engaging environment. This environment is attained through universal design for learning in a technologically rich environment.
     The implementation of Robotics at Bow Valley will create just such an environment. Students will collaboratively work with technology to solve unique real world problems that prepare students for future pursuits in various applied sciences.
    Goal two of Bow Valley’s education plan places value on learners’ abilities to be self-directed and innovative learners. Goal three of the education plan states that instructional design should challenge the learner. And finally, goal four of the education plan is that instructional design should challenge and engage the learner.
    With this grant, learners at Bow Valley would be given all these opportunities and more. Learners will interact in a unique environment where they will encounter challenging problems that require innovative solutions achieved through collaboration and reliance on peer interaction to approach abstract solutions.

Budget:         VEX Robots Kits        $12604.77
        Laptop computer          $1299.00

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