Robotics Competition and Family Science Fair for Grades 4-8 Sponsored by the Latino-STEM Alliance

Lisa Shatz, Kerrie Pieloch, Emily Shamieh
2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings   unpublished
A robotics competition and family science fair was held in June 2015 in an inner city neighborhood in Boston sponsored by the Latino STEM Alliance (LSA), for students in grades 4-8 and their families to promote engineering to students from underrepresented groups. The LSA partners with schools, private industry, community groups, and academia to bring STEM experiences to underserved youth who otherwise would not have such an opportunity. The LSA saw that existing robotics competitions were not
more » ... vailable to underserved youth and therefore decided to hold a year-end competition to motivate the participants. The robotics competition was the culmination of the students' year-long effort in the designing, building, programming, and debugging their teams' robots. Alongside the competition, a family science fair was used to make families aware of the many STEM resources in Boston as well as to pique their interest in STEM. Engaging families is a priority of the LSA in order to encourage parents to advocate for STEM offerings in schools, as well as to encourage the parents, who are often very young, to consider STEM education and career pathways for themselves. Another key feature of this event was the participation of NSF S-STEM electrical engineering scholars from Suffolk University, who are graduates of Boston Public High Schools and who are predominantly students of color themselves. These students engaged the fair participants in hands-on experiments about energy and electricity and served as role models for the participants and their families. Surveys of the student attendees as well as some of the presenters were performed to assess various measures of self-efficacy. Surveys indicated that the event was successful in promoting self-efficacy.
doi:10.18260/p.26117 fatcat:bz6e7g5dyjapveu7hwjp5phj4e