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STTR Phase II: A Low Cost Robotics kit for Elementary Education

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1831177
Agency Tracking Number: 1831177
Amount: $749,999.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: EA
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2016
Award Year: 2018
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2018-08-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-07-31
Small Business Information
544 Miltenberger St
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
United States
DUNS: 832762517
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Tom Lauwers
 (412) 216-5833
Business Contact
 Tom Lauwers
Phone: (412) 216-5833
Research Institution
 Carnegie-Mellon University
 Illah R Nourbakhsh
5000 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

This STTR Phase II project supports standards-based math education in elementary school classrooms with a hands-on technology intervention. Research has shown that many elementary teachers suffer from low confidence and limited subject content knowledge in math and struggle to develop instruction designed to meet or exceed common core math learning goals. Teachers and researchers alike seek new approaches to engage students and improve teacher effectiveness to improve learning outcomes. The primary goal of this project is the development of a flexible, user-friendly, hands-on robotics kit with associated curriculum and support for teachers, that will engage students in learning math content, align with core curriculum, and measurably increase student achievement. The commercialization of this research-based classroom kit will enable school districts to adopt active learning into their math pedagogy. Ultimately, this promotes the NSF mission to increase national prosperity through science innovation by improving math preparation for students across the United States and preparing them to participate in careers that drive the advancement of science and technology. The core contribution of this work is composed of a flexible hardware kit to enable active learning within the core elementary curriculum as well as more traditional maker activities, and a suite of apps that allow students to use this kit to learn specific math content while also providing options to learn computational thinking through general purpose programming apps. To accomplish this, the team employs a proven design process in which hardware, software, and curriculum are simultaneously designed to align to learner goals, evaluated in classroom studies, and iteratively refined. The kit will combine the ease of use and simplicity of a regular snap-together style electronics kit with the flexibility of a programmable microcontroller. The apps developed for this project will build on a new math-based paradigm for robot programming. These math-oriented apps will remove the barrier of programming skills for elementary teachers and students alike when using the electronics kit for math instruction. Simultaneously, programming apps will enable open-ended explorations of making and computational thinking. Another contribution of this project will be the testing and analysis of the hardware system and complementary math curricula. Formative evaluation will enable exploration and understanding of novel mechanisms for learning math, and evaluation of the program's efficacy will enable characterization of the impact on student outcomes in math achievement and attitudes towards math. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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