SUSD approves student-request for robotics in the classroom

Dr. Denise Birdwell. (photo by Josh Martinez)

Keeping a commitment made to a group of high school students six weeks ago, the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board voted June 20 to make robotics part of the high school academic curriculum.

During the Governing Board’s May 9 meeting, students challenged board members and Superintendent Dr. Denise Birdwell: Make robotics part of the for-credit, high school curriculum, instead of an after-school activity. Dr. Birdwell accepted the challenge.

Six weeks, to the day, later, the governing board voted 5-0 to establish a pilot robotics course at Arcadia, Chaparral, Coronado Desert Mountain and Saguaro high schools for the 2017-18 school year that begins Aug. 7.

“I can’t wait to tell our robotics clubs that all the hard work they’ve been putting in after school will now have academic status and mean something on their high school transcripts,” said Dr. Birdwell in a press release.

The newly established robotics course will provide students with opportunities to apply engineering principles to solve complex, open-ended problems in a real-world context, the press release stated.

Based on Arizona and national technology standards, the project-based, STEM-focused curriculum will emphasize innovation, invention, critical thinking, oral and written communication, creativity, personal initiative, teamwork, and accountability. Students will be expected to apply the design process to develop, produce, apply and analyze products related to science, technology, engineering and math.

View the students’ challenge and Dr. Birdwell’s response here: The challenge runs from the 45:15 – 47:35 mark.

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