EAST News‎ > ‎

EAST AT STUTTGART HIGH SCHOOL BRINGS ROBOTS TO GRAND PRAIRIE

by Bill Shrum
bshrum@stuttgartdailyleader.com

(Click here to read the original article on the Stuttgart Daily Leader website.)

October 05. 2015 1:17PM

STUTTGART —

The Environmental and Spatial Technologies (EAST) Lab of Stuttgart Public School System under Jonathan Watson, the facilitator at    Stuttgart Junior High School and Stuttgart High School has a new program coming to the Grand Prairie.

Stuttgart's Environmental and Spatial Technologies Lab (EAST Lab) has a new program about to hit the Grand Prairie.

The Environmental and Spatial Technologies (EAST) Lab of Stuttgart Public School System under Jonathan Watson, the facilitator at  Stuttgart Junior High School and Stuttgart High School has a new program coming to the Grand Prairie.

"It is called the Ricebird Robotics Invitational," Jonathan Watson, EAST Lab facilitator for both Stuttgart Junior and High Schools, explained. "It is presented by UALR."

The group will be hosting a robotics tournament from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Grand Prairie Center, which is located on the Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas-Stuttgart campus.

"We are partnering with UALR for this project," Watson said. "This is our first year to host this here in Stuttgart."

Watson said that the Stuttgart EAST lab participates each year in Boosting for Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) and this year will be no exception.

"Some years are better than others," Watson said. "The students do enjoy the competition.

Right now, we have five students who are signed up for the competition; however, it hasn't been posted in the bulletin yet and will be open to as many that want to attend.

"We want to use it as an outreach for this school and other schools to show the advantage of robotics to the schools who don't have them," Watson said.

Purpose of the robotics are to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science technology and mathematics through robotic design, he said.

The program will teach students to:

  • Understand the practical use of math concepts and applied science;
  • solve real-world science and engineering problems training that is transferable to all academic disciplines and career pursuits;
  • gain an increased interest in engineering, math and science;
  • understand what engineers do — the engineering profession is "demystified;”
  • experience "design-to-maker" product development; and
  • receive recognition and acclaim typically reserved for their peers in sports.

Through this program he hopes students will also learn abstract thinking, self-directed learning, teamwork, project management, decision-making, problem-solving and leadership.

The first competition was held in 1993 with 14 schools and 221 students, which included one team from San Antonio, Texas. In 2012, there were 875 teams in four regionals and 46 hubs.

Organizational goals of BEST include:

  • Promote the growth of hubs (local competition sites) across the United States, thus maximizing the pipeline of future engineers, scientists and technical professionals;
  • increase hub growth among the two-year technical colleges and four-year college sand universities;
  • promote the involvement of rural and inner city schools which often have limited access to programs of this nature;
  • increase participation of women and minority students; and
  • develop new and foster existing alliances with national organizations that are stakeholders in science.

Carole Anderson is the facilitator in the DeWitt School System.

For more information on this project other activities, contact Watson at (870) 673-3561 Ext. 5029.