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Award Abstract #1542301

RET SITE: Robotics Research Experiences for Middle School Teachers

NSF Org: CNS
Division Of Computer and Network Systems
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Initial Amendment Date: August 19, 2015
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Latest Amendment Date: August 19, 2015
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Award Number: 1542301
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Award Instrument: Standard Grant
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Program Manager: Harriet Taylor
CNS Division Of Computer and Network Systems
CSE Direct For Computer & Info Scie & Enginr
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Start Date: May 1, 2016
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End Date: April 30, 2019 (Estimated)
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Awarded Amount to Date: $569,655.00
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Investigator(s): Daniel Koditschek kod@ese.upenn.edu (Principal Investigator)
DANIEL UEDA (Co-Principal Investigator)
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Sponsor: University of Pennsylvania
Research Services
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6205 (215)898-7293
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NSF Program(s): RES EXP FOR TEACHERS(RET)-SITE
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Program Reference Code(s): 1359
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Program Element Code(s): 1359

ABSTRACT

This funding establishes a new Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Site at the University of Pennsylvania. The primary objective of this RET site is to involve middle school teachers in the School District of Philadelphia in summer research experiences that emphasize robotics. The teachers will spend six weeks in the summer participating in research experiences and developing classroom modules and materials which will be implemented in their classrooms during the academic year. The project is led by the General Robotics, Automation, Sensing, and Perception (GRASP) Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania. The GRASP Lab is known not only as a leader in robotics research but also for its significant outreach and impact on K-12 education. The RET Site project involves a partnership between the university, the school district, the Mayor's Office of Education, and industrial associates. The teachers will continue to receive classroom support for related activities in their classrooms during the academic year including establishing FIRST LEGO League clubs in the schools. This RET Site project will develop a community of teachers who are passionate about robotics and who can translate this excitement to their students through engaging, high-quality inquiry learning experiences.

The project is anchored by a research area this is compelling and exciting for teachers and middle school students and by a faculty team that has demonstrated expertise in both research and education. The goals of the project are to: provide a quality research experience for middle school teachers in the field of robotics and automation; increase understanding of science and robotics; increase teachers' abilities to apply scientific and engineering methods to problems; increase the opportunities in underserved Philadelphia schools to prepare students for the engineering and scientific workforce; and develop teachers into STEM leaders. The site features projects that are teacher accessible as well as connected to current research and practice. The RET site includes sound evaluation and dissemination plans that will provide models for integrating robotics concepts into the middle school curricula. Teachers will develop and hone their research, communication, and presentation skills, all of which are essential to their professional growth and success. The project will build the technical capacity of teachers so they are capable of developing and implementing new, exciting robotics learning activities at their schools. The project team will disseminate the project materials through the TeachEngineering digital library and a GRASP's engagement web site that will be shared with a wider audience of teachers at annual workshops and conferences.

 

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