Fable Robot

We understand, initiating STEM in your classroom can sound daunting if you haven’t already started and don’t know where to begin.

Before exploring how we can implement STEM, let’s recap what STEM means;

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. We all teach Science and Math, but STEM adds Technology and Engineering into the equation in order to teach “21st-century skills” or tools students need to have if they wish to succeed in the workplace of the “future”.

The idea is that in order to be prepared for jobs and compete with students from different parts of the world, students need to be able to solve problems, find and use evidence, collaborate on projects and think critically. These skills and the thinking that goes with it are taught in STEM subjects.

So, now we know what STEM actually is. Where do I begin?

If you have already ordered your Fable classroom kit, you can easily begin here with a FREE FABLE lesson plan.

Some ideas on implementing STEM in the classroom:

  1. Implement STEM into the core curriculum – It is possible to integrate STEM into the current curriculum by using devices such as robotic kits. For example: Math – let the children come up with an item to sell and have them make it. Use fake money and give them an hour to sell it. Let them experience buying, selling, bartering and trading. This combines math and social skills. 
  2. Dedicate time – In addition to STEM integration into the core curriculum, setting aside dedicated time outside of core subjects provides an ideal entry point for STEM experiences. When we are intentional about finding time to let kids make stuff, it leads to authentic engagement around STEM topics. This could be in lesson, between semesters/trimesters, after school time, summer school, community education or even at a parent-student event.
  3. If in doubt start small – Choose a lesson or topic you already do and just modify it a little bit to be more of a problem or question students need to solve.
  4. Visit schools already doing it well – We can provide you with a list of schools in your area who are already doing this well. Contact us to find out more.
  5. Try with tools such as Robotics – robotics is a great way for students to learn how to code, which engages students to developing their skills in critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and innovation.

Always remember, if it doesn’t go like you had planned, use that as a lesson too. STEM is all about trial and error. The students learn just as much, maybe even more during flops.

Shape Robotics would like to reward teachers using Fable in the classroom with a 100 euro Amazon gift voucher for lessons you have created, which are applicable to your peers. Simply submit your suggestion to us here in our contributor space!

Article by Rachel Colsaerts

 

STEM learning

What exactly is STEM and why has STEM been a hot topic in education lately?

Where did it come from and why are we teaching our kids under this banner?

According to a report by World Economic Forum: “At least 133 million new roles generated as a result of the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms may emerge globally by 2022. There will also be strong demand for technical skills like programming and app development, along with skills that computers can’t easily master such as creative thinking, problem-solving and negotiating.”

So what is STEM exactly?

STEM stands for: science, technology, engineering and math.

STEM curriculum blends these subjects in order to teach “21st-century skills” or tools students need to have if they wish to succeed in the workplace of the “future.”

Common elements of quality STEM learning include:

  • Design-Focus: using design tools and techniques to attack big problems or opportunity (challenge-based, problem-based learning).
  • Active Application: applying knowledge and skills to real-world situations and constructing or prototyping solutions to challenges (maker, project-based learning).
  • Integration: real world problems aren’t limited to a discipline—solutions almost always draw from many fields.

The idea is that in order to be prepared for jobs and compete with students from different parts of the world, students need to be able to solve problems, find and use evidence, collaborate on projects and think critically. These skills and the thinking that goes with it, are taught in STEM related subjects.

In saying this, STEM can still be hard to define. And not to confuse you, it’s such a popular term that it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The science (biology, chemistry, etc.) and math (algebra, calculus, etc.) parts of the abbreviation might be easy to figure out. The technology and engineering parts can often be less clear. Technology includes topics such as computer programming (coding), analytics and design. Engineering can include topics like robotics, electronics and civil engineering.

The key term, when talking about STEM, is integration. STEM curriculum intentionally melds these disciplines. It’s a blended approach that encourages hands-on experience and gives students the chance to gain and apply relevant, “real world” knowledge in the classroom.

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By Rachel Colsaerts

How teaching robotics can tackle the lack of STEM skills in the UK - Part 1

Current situation

The UK’s economy is at risk due to the shortage in STEM skills – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – where there is a gap in professionals to take over existing vacant positions.

According to a May, 2018 report, the shortfall in STEM graduates is costing the UK economy £1.5bn per year. 400 HR directors and decision makers participated in a survey that highlights several key points regarding the evolution of STEM professionals in the UK:

  • Shortage of STEM skilled staff – 9 in 10 employers are having a difficult time recruiting skilled staff in the STEM industries leading to an average of 10 unfulfilled roles per business and a shortfall of more than 173.000 workers.
  • Longer recruitment process – involves more resources and increased costs that are challenging for the recruitment industry. As a quick solution for the situation, 48% of STEM businesses are searching abroad for the right professionals.
  • Education and experience mismatch – in STEM industries there is a large gap between the skill set valued in education and the one employers are searching for. In addition, not many schools are including STEM skills as part of their curriculum and therefore young professionals are not acquainted to the industries at all.

The core of the growing STEM skills gap stems somewhat from the education system level, from school to university. To compliment this, there is also a lack of professional training in the workplace.

It could be said that some STEM teachers are lagging in qualifications when compared to others teaching these subjects. This lack of qualifications tends to be higher in less affluent areas and schools:

  • In areas outside of London, just over a third (37%) of maths teachers and just under half (45%) of chemistry teachers in less advantaged schools had a relevant degree. In more affluent schools outside of London, the proportions are far higher for maths (51%) and chemistry (68%).
  • Shortages of highly-qualified teachers in these less advantaged schools appear to be the most severe in physics. In the worst-off schools outside of London, fewer than 1 in 5 of physics teachers (17%) have a relevant degree. In more affluent schools outside of London, the figure rises significantly to just over half (52%).

Danish company Shape Robotics’ vision aims for the continuous development of easy to use teaching robots designed to help everyone from younger school pupils to university students acquire 21st century skills and gain knowledge in STEM industries.

The company’s mission remains today: to make the teaching robot Fable as widely available as possible to students globally and to actively be involved in their development by collaborating with schools and teachers all over the world.

The Fable System offers learning at all levels from comprehension of technology in primary and secondary school, over mathematics and informatics in high school to vocational training programmes in industry and construction.

142,000 new tech jobs in UK by 2023

Research conducted by The British Computer Society reinforced the idea that the shortage of applicants in STEM industries is tightly related to the low number of students graduating with the skill sets necessary to fill these roles.

  • A-Level results released in 2018 show 15,149 students passed an A-Level in either Computer Science or ICT – down very slightly from 15,161 in 2017 despite there being more vacant positions requiring these qualifications.
  • The number of students passing Computer Science increased from 7,851 in 2017 to 9,772 in 2018 – a rise of 24% – while the number passing ICT fell for a fourth consecutive year, from 7,310 in 2017 to 5,378 in 2018 – a 20% decline.

Jobs needing STEM skills are projected to grow exponentially in the next few years. The UK expects to create an additional 142,000 new tech jobs by 2023; given the current gap in skill sets, hiring for these positions will become extremely tough and competitive.

By Diana Aldea

Disclaimer: This article was written by Shape Robotics for FE NEWS. You can also access the full article here: https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/28138-how-teaching-robotics-can-tackle-the-lack-of-stem-skills-in-the-uk
How teaching robotics can tackle the lack of STEM skills in the UK - Part 2

Addressing the current STEM skills gap in the UK

Here at Shape Robotics we believe that learning STEM skills is much more than just attending class. It’s the integration and hands-on approach of several subject areas such as innovation, programming, robotics and real-world problem solving – building 21st century skills and STEM knowledge.

Robotics, just one of those areas has become an excellent example of how using technology in education (EdTech), can combine both mathematics and science subjects using a creative and innovative STEM approach.

The best part about teaching STEM skills is it has no age. From middle school to secondary school and all the way to university level, anyone with drive and curiosity can discover Fable and learn transferable programming skills they will later use to shape the world and fulfill real needs.

Why teach robotics?

  • Teaching robotics provides technical and interpersonal skills students need to meet current workforce demands, drive economic growth and solve what could be the world’s next big problems. These skills are helping nurture every child’s potential to be a leader, an innovator and an inspiration while becoming the critical thinkers and creative problem solvers of tomorrow.
  • Students who participate in robotics generally have a good attitude towards science overall. The hard skills students acquire while learning robotics are connected to programming, coding, science research, engineering and technology.
  • Robotics teaches soft skills like teamwork, collaboration, communication and leadership. All of these are beneficial when integrating in the workplace and help to establish interpersonal relationships.

Robotics inspires a lifetime love of learning, creativity and logical reasoning that are critical to success in an ever-changing workforce. Educational institutions are key players in introducing robotics to students in an engaging way and teaching skills that will be necessary in many of the jobs that today’s students will occupy.

The Fable learning system has been developed to encourage and assist both teachers and students every step of the way. Shape Robotics offers lesson plans and teaching materials that aligns with various national curriculum. This means that the process of integrating robotics into classrooms can be made easy for any school or teacher around the world.

By Diana Aldea

Disclaimer: This article was written by Shape Robotics for FE NEWS. You can also access the full article here: https://www.fenews.co.uk/featured-article/28138-how-teaching-robotics-can-tackle-the-lack-of-stem-skills-in-the-uk

On 11th of May we had the pleasure to attend RobotFestival in the beautiful “Universe Science” Park in Denmark. We had a wonderful time there and met a lot of smart and creative kids and their families. Why do we say that? Because we also ran a contest for the kids with two robotics games where the best participant won a Fable Robot. So, we tested out their STEM skills and passion for robotics. We were happy to discover that no matter the age all children did a great job at working with Fable for the first time.

Let’s learn more about the competition we organised there. We held two contests, each of them with a maximum score of 20 points. 

Challenge 1: Blow up the balloons using Fable Spin. 

For this contest the participants had to build a robot that could blow up balloons using a needle. 

There were 4 balloons placed randomly on the field. One balloon with helium fastened with a 1 meter cord mounted on a ball stand in the centre of the field. The robot had to start in the corner of the field. Of course that the robot wasn’t allowed to leave the field during the try and it was only allowed to be remote controlled. Each participant had a try limited to 3 minutes, but they could try as many times they wanted.

Challenge 2: Move the balls with Fable Spin

For the second contest, the participants had to build a robot that would move table tennis balls from one half of the field to the other. For this, five red ball stands were placed randomly on one end of the field with table tennis balls on top and five blue ball stands were placed randomly on the other end of the field. 

The rules: the robot had to be remote controlled, it couldn’t leave the field during the try, and finally the challenge started in the right corner of the red field. Each participant could try out the challenge as many times as they liked, 3 minutes per try.

 

We would like to thank all participants for their courage, skills and dedication. We congratulate our winner, a young determined kid that was able to win the Fable Robot with maximum points! 

Stay tuned for the next events where you can meet Fable and our team. We’re preparing many interesting surprises!

 

By Diana Aldea

Den 16.  april var vi inviteret til Ordblindeinstituttet, for at få en fornemmelse af, hvordan Fable bliver anvendt i undervisningen. Lærernes oplevelse var, at interessen for robotprogrammering hos eleverne var så stor, at deres fordybelse kunne fastholdes i meget længere tid, end normalt i undervisningen. Eleverne var meget hurtige til at fange, hvordan Fable fungerer […]

Hos Shape Robotics elsker vi at følge den udvikling, som Fable robotten hjælper med at skabe for unge mennesker. Her er en historie om Birkerød Gymnasium, der begyndte at undervise i Fable robotprogrammering og matematik til bl.a. alle først års elever.

Pupils programming Fable

Birkerød Gymnasium var et af de første gymnasier der begyndte at bruge Fable. I dag er gymnasiet en af vores partnere, og sammen udvikler vi nye ideer og forskellig uddannelsesmateriale. Gymnasiet har omkring 1000 elever og er idyllisk beliggende ikke langt fra København og mindre end 10 km væk fra Shape Robotics hovedkvarter i Farum. 

Birkerød Gymnasium

Vores samarbejde med Birkerød Gymnasium startede i 2017 da rektor, Anders Kloppenborg og en gruppe af videnskabs- og matematiklærere søgte nye måder at undervise STEM-emner til deres elever. Matematik- og fysiklærere Kasper Astrup Eriksen var den første til at opdage Fable, da han læste en historie i det lokale tekniske magasin, der beskrev vores forskning og forklarede, hvor enkelt Fable-systemet kunne bruges for selv de yngre elever. Efter at have fået deres første oplevelse med Fable oprettede lærerne en “Robot Gruppe” hvor de planlagde regelmæssige møder, hvor de diskuterede og udforskede, hvordan de kunne bruge Fable-systemet i deres undervisning, der spænder fra fysik til matematik og programmering. Flere ideer blev testet med eleverne, for eksempel hvordan man underviser lineær regression med data samlet fra en Fable robot udstyret med en laserpen. 

High School Pupils Programming Fable

 

Da en  lokal avis besøgte gymnasiet, spurgte de hvorfor de har valgt at undervise med robotter:

“Roboterne er en god måde at skabe interesse for kompliceret matematikuddannelse”, siger matematiklærer Randi Grange.

I dag undervises alle første års elever på Birkerød Gymnasium med Fable som tværfaglige lektioner i matematik og fysik. Et eksempel omfatter at bruge lyd til at styre en Fable robot. Dette gøres ved at anvende lineære og ikke-lineære ligninger til at omdanne lyddata til vinkler til styring af robotten.

Sådan så det ud, da den lokale tv-station besøgte skolen (TV2-Lorry):

 

Ud over vigtigheden af ​​at motivere til matematik, konstaterede Randi Grange også vigtigheden af ​​fremtidige job:

Roboteknologi er i hurtig udvikling og har spændende karrieremuligheder, så det er godt, at eleverne bliver bekendt med emnet.”

High School Pupils Programming Fable

Faktisk er det ifølge en nylig undersøgelse sandsynligt at 30-40% af alle job automatiseret i 2030.   Heldigvis er eleverne klar til at omfavne den nye teknologi, og deres arbejde med robotter kan hjælpe dem med at inspirere deres karrieremuligheder:

Da jeg begyndte i gymnasiet, ville jeg gerne læse medicin og arbejde som læge, men nu er jeg begyndt at få mere interesse for eksempel medicinsk forskning og fremstilling, så programmering kan være relevant for mig i fremtiden”, siger førsteårsstudent Anna Olesen.

Hvis du også gerne vil komme i gang med robot programmering, kan du kontakte os på hello@shaperobotics.com. Du kan også bestille en 30-dages gratis prøveversion af Fable-systemet her.