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ERIC Number: EJ995772
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-2158-0502
Exciting Students through VEX Robotic Competitions
Robinson, Trevor P.; Stewardson, Gary A.
Technology and Engineering Teacher, v72 n2 p15-21 Oct 2012
Robotic competitions continue to gain popularity in the educational community as a way to engage students in hands-on learning that can raise a student's interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In 1992, For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST) held its first competition and presented a style of robotic competition that included a robust design challenge, a cooperative learning environment through the use of team alliances, and a format that emulated and generated the excitement of a sporting event (FIRST, 2010). In 2002, VEX robotic competitions began to emerge, based on the model developed by FIRST that generated success and attracted many students. VEX utilizes a model that enables a local team to host a VEX Robotics Competition (VRC). Through local VRCs, teams can compete throughout the year in multiple events and hopefully qualify for national and world competitions. In the Department of Engineering and Technology Education at Utah State University, the Design Academy allows middle school and high school students to compete in the VRC. As the Design Academy developed, it became apparent there were specific constraints the curriculum needed to address. An obvious constraint, and the one the developers became aware of early on, was the identification of certain skill sets (knowledge) that students need to possess to be competitive. Less obvious constraints were the need for curriculum to address the busy schedules of the students (sports, music, scouts, etc.), and that teams would be made up of students with various levels, even years, of experience. As a result, a performance-based, open-entry/open-exit approach was used. This allowed student performance to be measured against identified criteria and student progress to be monitored in stages. The curriculum developed for the Design Academy is divided into six skill sets, all pertaining to different skills that students should possess in order to be successful in VEX Robotic Competitions. The six skill sets are Driver/Operator, Builder I, Builder II, Programmer I, Programmer II, and Team Leader. Each skill set is structured into multiple lesson plans consisting of terminal and enabling objectives. The curriculum developed for the Design Academy will be continually modified and improved to ensure that students are able to effectively and efficiently meet the objectives. (Contains 2 tables and 7 figures.)
International Technology and Engineering Educators Association. 1914 Association Drive Suite 201, Reston, VA 20191-1539. Tel: 703-860-2100; Fax: 703-860-0353; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Utah