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Expanding Access to STEM Education

By Miechelle Krueger, DTCC Director, Data Quality Enterprise Data Solutions | June 18, 2020

What kid hasn’t dreamed of having a robot do their schoolwork?

That's exactly the question I asked recently when I joined a group of volunteers from DTCC Dallas to teach programming skills, and robotics, to third graders at Rockbrook Elementary School in nearby Lewisville, Texas. The idea grew out of a course launched by DTCC’s Innovation Clubs to teach the basics of programming across our different departments using Ozobot robots. That initiative proved so successful that we were inspired to bring it to students in our local community.

Our goal was to demystify programming by making it fun for third graders and to motivate them, particularly the young girls, to think about exploring STEM subjects as they get older. We started with an introductory lesson and then programmed the robots to solve problems in their math class. The students were jumping around and cheering every time the robot moved across the floor to find the correct answers. They were having so much fun that they didn’t even realize they were learning about programming and making decisions about the correct codes needed to tell the robots to go right, left and straight.

I was amazed to see the students so engaged. They read and solved the math problems because they wanted to play with the robots. And the teachers were as excited as the kids. In fact, the faculty was so thankful that about 25 of us returned to the school to use the robots for a reading comprehension lesson. Over the course of just eight months, we made four trips and reached about 125 students.

Working with third graders is magical because they believe they can do anything. I’m hoping that our robot lessons will light a fire for problem solving, which is what drives all developers. I can’t wait to get back to the school again and continue to share my passion for technology with the kids. Every time I go there, I’m reminded how lucky I am to have this opportunity to inspire so many young people and teach them that STEM is for everyone.