AMERICAN CANYON — Those who grew up learning the three “R”s in school probably never heard of the two “M”s or “C-STEM.”
The two Ms are “mathletics” and “mobots.” Mathletics are middle school math competitions and mobots are educational modular robots.
Nowadays American Canyon Middle School kids are mathletes and mobot engineers.
American Canyon students competed in the first annual mathletes competition between Napa Valley Unified School District middle schools earlier this month.
To prepare for the competition kids met after school once a week for six weeks before competing at the district office April 3. American Canyon placed second in the team competition and ACMS students Emmanuel DeLeon and Noah Reyes were each third-place winners at their respective 6th-grade and 8th-grade levels in the individual competition.
The trophy for the overall mathlete champion went to Napa’s River School.
Ten American Canyon Middle School students are honing their mobotic skills for UC Davis’ C-STEM Day, May 4 where they’ll compete with more than 30 teams from around Northern California.
The UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education aims to improve computing, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (C-STEM) education in both formal and informal programs in K-14. The goal of the C-STEM Center is to provide computing education for all K-12 students and develop students' critical thinking and problem-solving skills through integrated computing and STEM education.
The center is run through the UC Davis College of Engineering.
According to ACMS instructor Tammy Lee, her students are entering two C-STEM competitions next week, one with a classroom-produced video and a live robotics contest.
“We are entering the DVD (where the kids make a DVD with mobots) and the Roboplay, where they have to program the mobots to do a task, like navigate through a maze and/or pick up an object,” Lee wrote in an email. Lee said the theme of their video is “Star Wars.”
Mobots were developed by Barobo Inc., a UC Davis spin-off company and C-STEM industrial partner. The DVD video will be completed ahead of time and submitted online, according to Lee.
Lee recently got a robotic fellowship from UC Davis that includes a grant for more than $10,000 worth of mobots, or 35 total, she said, and software. Lee said she hopes to teach a robotics elective at ACMS next year.
The website for the K-12 UC outreach is cstem.ucdavis.edu.