RobotsLAB Blog

Advanced math and reading in kindergarten benefits school performance

Posted by Mike Nardine

Apr 23, 2014 4:30:00 PM



Just when we thought it was safe to follow the old dictum ‘just let kids be kids,’ we stumbled over this latest research from the University of Chicago in the American Educational Research Journal which indicates that only four days per month of advanced math and reading content in Kindergarten leads to better test scores in the higher grades. This study will be difficult for parents eager to get their children off to the best start to ignore.


But don’t panic, ‘advanced math and reading content’ doesn’t mean algebra and James Joyce’s Ulysses. According to Amy Claessens, assistant professor of public policy at Chicago University's Harris School of Public Policy Studies and primary author of this study, ‘advanced’ in this context simply refers to the fact that 50% of kids arriving in Kindergarten have already mastered the basic content; advanced means providing content a majority of children have not as yet mastered.  


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Topics: Math, Education, Kindergarten

Makerbot 3d printing in schools

Posted by Charles Nimrad

Apr 22, 2014 10:30:00 AM

Math teachers, science teachers and engineering teachers, are you looking for a way to make your beloved disciplines more relevant to your students? Maybe even inspire a few to love them the way you do?  Well, right now there is affordable new technology out there that can help you do just that! The Makerbot 3D printer and STEM BOT 3D CLASS from our own RobotsLAB.



StemBot 3D program that teaches students how to 3D print a robot, assemble it, work on the electronics, and finally program it.

Actually, 3D printers have been around since the 1980’s, but they were massive and super-expensive like the first-generation computers. Only in the last few years have they shrunk in size and dropped in price to where individual households and schools could afford them.


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Topics: Robotics, Local News, EdTech, STEM, Education, Computer Science, 21st Century Classroom, School, Student Engagement, Middle School, 3D Printing, Curriculum, Project Based Learning, High School, Problem Based Learning (PBL)

Robots in Pre-Calculus

Posted by Mary Takle

Apr 21, 2014 8:00:00 AM



As part of a school wide implementation of Problem based Learning (PBL), the pre-calculus classes at Sammamish High school in Bellevue, WA used robots to teach math.  The prompt was simple, “What pre-calculus level math lesson could you teach using one of the robots we have?”  The work produced was amazing!

First the students were given the opportunity to play with the robots and see how they worked.  They had access to all four of the robots from the RobotsLAB kit: Sphero – a small robotic ball, ArmBot – a mechanical arm that can pick objects up, Mobot – a rover that moves with precision, and a quadcopter AR.Drone. Students also had access to an additional robot, LinkBot – two rover bots who could be programmed to mimic each other. After students investigated each robot, they selected one robot to use as a tool to teach a pre-calculus level lesson.  Students had the option of choosing a topic they had already studied or choosing a topic they had yet to study.

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Topics: Pre-Calc, Math, Pre-Calculus, Teaching with the RobotsLAB BOX, Local News, EdTech, STEM, Education, 21st Century Classroom, School, Student Engagement, Project Based Learning, High School, Problem Based Learning (PBL)

TeacherCast Interview: Learn How RobotsLAB is innovating STEM Education

Posted by Anna Sandler

Apr 11, 2014 8:30:00 AM

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Topics: Pre-Calc, Math, Robotics, Pre-Calculus, Local News, EdTech, STEM, National News, Education, Press, Computer Science, NAO, 21st Century Classroom, School, Student Engagement, Geometry,, Middle School, algebra,, Curriculum

NAO humanoid robot gives a more personal connection to autistic children

Posted by Mike Nardine

Apr 7, 2014 8:00:00 AM

No one is certain as to why, but it seems that NAO, the anthropomorphic robot from the French company Aldebaran, appeals to children with autism. Some experts suggest the appeal has something to do with NAO’s non-threatening voice and appearance. Others say they believe it is NAO’s ability to communicate with these children without the complicated social and emotional facial clues given off by other humans that confuse and frighten them.


Several studies indicate that NAO is a valuable addition to the existing systems that work with autistic children. No claim is made by NAO’s adherents that it is the only viable strategy for dealing with childhood autism-- but with over 5000 of these anthropomorphic robots placed in research and educational institutions worldwide there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest they work well with these children in existing classrooms. The recent experiences of educators and children at Shaler Academy in Ridgefield, N.J.and at Vanderbilt University illustrates this point.


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Topics: Robotics, NAO

The importance of ensuring America’s continued competitiveness with STEM

Posted by Mike Nardine

Apr 4, 2014 9:00:00 AM

The Great Recession began in 2007 and ’by the numbers’ ended in 2009. "By the numbers" meaning "technically". The Misery Index and unemployment have remained high in spite of this technicality. Why is that do you suppose? Is it possible there has been a change in the economy at a fundamental level not responsive to rising housing prices?


Could it be that the workplace itself changed so greatly during this period with the explosion of mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablets that the available jobs no longer reflects the pool of trained, unemployed job seekers? According to Sidharth Oberoi, chief academic officer at Zaniac, that’s the case. He writes, "A closer look at U.S. unemployment statistics shows that even with unemployment still at historically high levels, large numbers of jobs are going unfilled. Most of these jobs have one very important thing in common — the need for STEM education". He says further data suggests that while there are 3.6 applicants for every available job in the US, there is only one unemployed STEM worker for every two available STEM positions.


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Topics: EdTech, STEM, Education, Education Politics, 21st Century Classroom

Forbes 30 under 30 honored edtech entrepreneurs

Posted by Mike Nardine

Apr 3, 2014 8:00:00 AM

Forbes Magazine recently presented Nic Borg with its "30 Under 30" award. The magazine presents the award annually to young entrepreneurs (under 30 years-old, as you might have guessed) in 15 different fields like finance, entertainment, technology and education. Mr. Borg’s award was in the education field for his co-founding of with Jeff O’Hara.


Mr Borg’s background, Forbes magazine says, differs from other entrepreneurs in the field by being an intensely practical one forged in a high school environment where he built web-based tools and management solutions for seven years before founding Edmodo. Edmodo, formed in 2008 with the slogan "Where learning happens," uses what he learned in that down-and-dirty educational environment to facilitate communication and collaboration between students teachers both in and outside the classroom. He wanted to form a site that solved "real" problems for teachers. The largest K-12 social learning network with more than 33 million users, Edmodo  is often called the "Facebook of education".


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Topics: EdTech, National News

RobotsLAB BOX Named the BEST STEM SOLUTION by EdTech Digest

Posted by Elad Inbar

Mar 21, 2014 5:14:00 PM

EdTech Digest Awards Program 2014

Spirit of Innovation

From EdTechDigest:

For so many reasons, the education technology space is moving forward with great momentum and robust spirit. A confluence of factors — the right time, technology and people — has made for a superlative year.

With top talent and quality in so many corners, it wasn’t an easy selection process, but we are shining a spotlight on some of the best and brightest tools, leaders and trendsetters pushing forward today’s education revolution for the benefit of future generations.

There are now thousands of startups, apps and companies working in edtech, more than ever before. The introduction of new methods, ideas, products and frameworks for learning, the willingness of investors to power such ingenuity through, or for startups making a go of it to boldly bootstrap their own efforts — and the real results that come of it — all converge to a single point: in the edtech sector, a spirit of innovation is alive and well. The courage, energy and determination of so many in and around education, their attitude, their underlying intentions to create positive change in one of the most important fields of human endeavor — not only deserves respect and warm approval, but is heartening to witness and partake in.

We are part of a greater movement here, one that takes a tremendous amount of drive, but one with so many gains to be had. We’re very excited to recognize these cool tools, leaders and trendsetters in the education technology space. We intend to continue contributing to the forward motion of this revolution, and we salute those dedicated souls that create the human energy involved in such an undertaking. Well done! Continue! 

RobotsLAB BOX named the winner and the best STEM Solution

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Topics: EdTech, STEM, Awards

Taking Math Out of the Classroom into the Construction Site

Posted by Charles Nimrad

Mar 20, 2014 9:00:00 AM

High schoolers building homes for the non-profit organization Habitat For Humanity is another great example of 21st Century math teachers taking math out of the classroom where it has been languishing for centuries and putting it to work in a fashion guaranteed to engage young minds and hands. Forty-nine High School students in Vancouver built homes while participating in a class called Math in Construction.


What did they learn? Well, confidence for one thing. An appreciation for real-world math for another."It was an amazing experience," said One young scholar. "I'm going to use this in real life."

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Topics: Math, Local News, Education, Student Engagement

DARwIn-OP Robot Can Imitate Human Motions

Posted by Anna Sandler

Mar 19, 2014 1:00:00 PM


The proposed system can perform full-body imitation of human motion by humanoid robot. A humanoid robot has potential to support people in various environments such as homes, hospitals, offices, etc. However, if a robot has to work in a real environment, actions based on various motions, which should be input by humans, are essential. The motion-capture is one of the easiest ways to generate humanoid motions. However, there are lots of problems. Often it requires offline process for building motion database. High computational cost is also a big problem in a small-sized humanoid. Moreover, because of the difference between human and robot kinematic structure, the original captured human motions are often infeasible movements for humanoid robot.

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Topics: Robotics