All semester, students from three different STEM classes worked together to "detect, analyze, and deter" model intruder robots.
On Friday, May 11, 2018, the semester-long defense industry-led workplace simulation (WSP) culminated in a demonstration of students’ learning at Loogootee, HS in Loogootee, Indiana. All semester, students from 3 different STEM classes worked together to “Detect, Analyze, and Deter” model intruder robots. STIMULUS Engineering, Loughmiller Machine and Tool Design, Direct Employers Institute, and the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration worked together to implement this WSP.
This WSP was developed to increase student interest in STEM careers with a specific focus on careers in Indiana’s growing defense Industry.
STIMULUS set-up a physical space in the high school designed to represent the workspace at STIMULUS Engineering. Its design encouraged collaboration between and among students and STIMULUS engineers, who acted as mentors and role models during the project. In order to incorporate 21st Century employability skills and model real world work environments, students were required to periodically present their work to an audience of STIMULUS engineers.
The end goal of the student projects was to prevent a model intruder robot from harming a model simulation hospital. To give students the hands-on experience of making this happen, volunteers from STIMULUS Engineering separated students into three teams based on their classes. “Detect” students came from Project Lead the Way (PLTW)’s Principles of Engineering (POE) classes, and were tasked with designing and building devices to detect the robots. “Analyze” team members were geometry students responsible for mathematically analyzing the intruder robot’s movements. They then provided the information to “Deter” teams, who hailed from Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) classes, who built defense robots to intercept the intruder robots.
In the culminating event on Friday May 11, students showcased their designs and projects.
Sophomore Sean Page from Detect Team 3 described the project, saying “We used an ultrasonic sensor that sends out sound waves in high frequency to determine the distance and speed of the intruder robot.”
Students presented to an audience comprised of Indiana educational leaders, including Congressman Bucshon, Theresa Hall, Director of School Engagement at PLTW, Amy Lore, Director of Government Relations for PLTW, as well as Loogootee Mayor Noel Harty, and others. Students demonstrated their devices at Jack Butcher Sports Arena in Loogootee High School.
The atmosphere felt more like a sporting event than a STEM program. Hundreds of attendees cheered when the deter robots stopped the intruder. WAMW radio provided a live broadcast of the event.
Southwest Central Indiana boasts the fourth-largest concentration of STEM related jobs in our nation. However, despite the need for high quality STEM graduates, the educational attainment in this area is lower than the state average. This initiative provided hands-on STEM programming to Loogootee students in an effort to improve STEM teaching and learning.
Adam Scribner, Director STEM Initiative at the Center for P-16 Research and Collaboration, believes that this experience allows different students to get involved. “We’re also seeing students that wouldn’t have been interested initially are now signing on to be part of these classes going forward,” Scribner says. “So we’re hopeful that for instance we’re going to see a larger number of girls go into the engineering classes because they’ve already seen and worked with this project.”
Asia Crim, a Loogootee HS student who participated in this WSP, says this project helped her develop her skills. She says, “I really had no idea what I was doing. I just knew how to do math. But by the end of it I know how to code a robot, put it together and how to really use coordinates to make it go where it needs to go.”
Several press outlets were also in attendance—namely, Indiana Public Media, WTHI-TV 10, and the Washington Times Herald. You can also watch the event on Loogootee High School’s Facebook page).
A grant from Skill UP! Indiana Department of Workforce Development made this Workplace Simulation Project possible. This is the first year of the pilot project.