Sunanda Kushon – Math teacher/ Robotics Club Sponsor
Horace Mann U.C.L.A. Community School
Los Angeles Unified School District
Project: Competitive Robotics Team – 7th through 9th Grade
Grant Award: $1500.00 February 2018
$1500.00 September 2018
I am currently a math teacher at Mann UCLA Community School. We are so fortunate to have received the LIFT grant, which has provided us with the opportunity to create a first ever robotics team at Mann UCLA Community School. The robotics team helps students make connections between math, science and engineering fields in order to further support understanding and connections between classroom learning and the career world.
The robotics team has multiple interactive learning experiences which would not have been possible without the LIFT grant.
Building robots has been an effective way to introduce students to thinking mathematically, use logic to solve real problems, and provide early exposure to programming. Students can concretely see the causal relationship between their programming and how robots respond. Students must collaborate and negotiate ideas, reflect on past learning and mistakes, and continuously employ flexible thinking to address barriers to meeting the goals set. These interactive learning experiences with a concrete feedback loop motivates kids to hone in on their coding skills. This allows students to provide precise instructions for their robots and meet increasingly challenging problems in a fun and engaging ways. As a result, this prepares students for how professionals in the field work together and address similar work-place challenges.
The Robotics program will improve my students’ understanding of personal investment in careers requiring programming mechanical devices in the foreseeable future. In today’s technology-rich society, access to science, technology, engineering, and math is critical. Confidence and competence in STEM fields creates pathways to well-paying jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities in the fastest-growing fields.
This Robotics Program has been and will continue to be a vehicle to increase student exposure and access, helping my students discover their interests and aptitude to pursue careers in this field of study.