December 14, 2021 by HCDE-Texas
On Saturday, 31 out-of-school time robotics coaches from school districts across Harris County attended the Center for Afterschool, Summer, and Enrichment’s 2021-2022 All-Earth Ecobot Challenge Reveal Day at HCDE’s Irvington office. The STEM-focused educators learned strategies to guide students through the project as well as the rules and theme of this year’s challenge—“Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rethink.”
“The reveal day is all about the coaches getting prepared,” said CASE for Kids Project Coordinator Tracie Scales. “It teaches them the essential tools, resources, guidelines and strategies they’ll need to implement the project so they can go back [to their afterschool porgrams] and help the students be successful in the competition.”
During Reveal Day, the coaches focused on game-specific learning, including the overall game and mission-specific rules, game table set-up, and scoring criteria. This year’s game is designed around the “Kingdom of Ecobot,” an imaginary world where students determine how to build homes, harvest energy and handle trash in eco-friendly ways. The game table comprises four quadrants and features a different mission in each one, such as collecting and recycling waste.
The All-Earth Ecobot Challenge, a hands-on, project-based learning model that features robotics, invites students from fourth to eighth grade to navigate challenges based on real-world environmental issues using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 Core Set robotics kits. The theme aims to educate the next generation on the various methods and purposes of recycling, such as composting, alternative energy sources, and building homes from upcycled materials.
In addition to preparing for the competition, students have the opportunity to complete a grand challenge in which they design and implement recycling programs at their campuses.
CASE for Kids anticipates 300-400 students from afterschool programs across the county will compete in this year’s game. The participating students and coaches will spend the following months gearing up for the practice days on Jan. 22 and Feb. 23 in preparation for the culminating Challenge Day on April 23.