Our robots and their included curricula provide students with exciting, engaging experiences in the STEM learning disciplines. Notice the emphasis on the word ‘experiences?’ An ‘experience,’ according to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary (circa 1976), is “something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through.” Even better is the definition found for the verb ‘experience’ with a more modern-media Google search: ‘practical contact with and observation of facts or events.’ That practical contact, that sense of personally encountering something otherwise thought of as abstract, is what our robots can deliver. No book, no blackboard and no lecture can hope to make concrete a abstract math concept as well as interacting with NAO, the BOX and MATHBALL.
Obsessed as we are with delivering students an experience that they will remember, we are always pleased to find someone else who understands the importance of engagement in learning. One such educator is teacher Sabrina Truong at East Harlem high school. She recently discovered that the Rubiks Cube could help kids learn algebra. She stumbled across a brochure announcing You Can Do The Cube at a educational science fair. She says she followed the brochures’ algorithms and solved the Cube for the first time in her life. That experience made her think that the Cube could be a source of inspiration for her math classes. She then found more interesting material at the site, youcandothecube.com, that helped her set up a curriculum based on the Cube.
Apparently Ms. Truong’s Rubik’s Cube curriculum for algebra class was a hit immediately with both administrators and students. The principal had this to say about this new initiative: This is the first real student initiative at the school. The students took one small idea and developed it into an extraordinary competition. I am impressed by the momentum that it has gained the last three weeks. One thing that stood out is this young man, Steven, who for most of the year was a truant and yet is here to help organize the event. Congratulations to the Rubik’s Cube Club.
Congratulations to Ms. Truong for her extraordinary commitment to her students math education and the same to her principal for his ability to allow a new, untested initiative to survive long enough to prove its worth. We hope the kids at East Harlem High realize how lucky they are to have teachers like these!