The opportunity to learn mechanical engineering and design, apply that knowledge in competitions, and have fun while learning are the goals of New Mexico Tech’s Robot Combat STEM Outreach Program.
The outreach program kicked off its schedule of activities for the academic year with a booth at STEM Night at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque Aug. 12, with more courses, workshops and competitions planned for the 2022-2023 academic year.
New Mexico Tech’s Mechanical Engineering Department sponsors the Robotic Combat STEM Outreach Program and staffed an information booth at STEM night. Tech students and faculty members met with teachers, students from elementary through high school and parents to provide information about the program’s educational opportunities and teacher support efforts.
According to Curtis O’Malley, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering and coordinator for the Robotic Combat STEM Outreach Program, the focus is on delivering exciting and engaging STEM curriculum content and support to New Mexico teachers.
“Last year the program worked with elementarys through high schools from all across New Mexico,” he said. “This year we are continuing our partnership with New Mexico Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement (NM MESA) and hope to reach a wider native population through a new partnership with Indian Resources Development (IRD) as well as connect with non-classroom education groups like EXPLORA, Boy Scouts (BSA), and Girl Scouts.”
Teacher supports include:
- Teacher training workshops
- Virtual classroom visits with NMT students
- Course content tailored to the teacher’s assessment of student knowledge and interests
- Assistance with supplies
- On-campus student workshops (planned for January 2023)
- An on-campus tournament (scheduled for April 29, 2023)
Dr. O’Malley said program content generally falls into one of three areas – basic coding and electronics, robotic coding and control, and engineering design and fabrication – but program organizers will work with teachers to customize the program to meet classroom learning objectives.
The Robotic Combat STEM Outreach Program also will have a presentation and booth at the upcoming New Mexico Science Teachers Association Conference Sept. 24 at New Mexico Tech.