AISES' New VEX Robotics Program Launches - Assistance Now Available!

Want to get your students engaged in STEM?  In robotics?  Here’s your chance!  AISES is launching a pilot program designed to bring VEX Robotics to Native schools and communities this fall and spring.   In fact, we are kicking off this new program at our 2015 National Conference in Phoenix, AZ, this November 19-21, 2015. 

If you are attending the National Conference, please check out the VEX Robotics Demonstrations on Thursday (pre-registration required) at the STEM Day Activities and/or the Robotics Education & Competition Foundation, Booth 517, on Friday at the Career and Opportunities Fair. 

Why Robotics?

Instilling in Native American youth the love of learning about STEM fields helps put them on a path toward academic achievement, degree attainment and ability to contribute productively to their communities. Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy says that robotics is the single best integrator of science, technology, engineering and math. Learning to work in the field of robotics at a young age can help to spur Native youth toward achievements in STEM and securing a secondary (and higher education) degree. Plus, working with robots has a way of circumventing the math anxiety that some children have learned.

Native American students participating in and preparing for a robotics competition learn critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration and teamwork. Student teams build their own robot, program it, test it, adjust it, and design and build extra components such as delivery systems. Teachers serve as resources and coaches, but the youth do the work of creating a unique robot they hope will be the best of its kind.

Students with vast potential that cannot be sufficiently tapped by classroom work need modes of learning that lie outside of the classroom, that hitch hands, minds and spirit of competition to making something real and trying to make it the best its kind. For these students, robotics can be the inspiration they need, linking academic theory to a fun, real-world project. The robotics theme keeps these “academic athletes” focused all year on learning the lessons necessary to be competitive.

In addition, teachers learn how to teach and coach robotics-relevant subjects. They will be linked to and participate in educational resources that are new to them and to experienced coaches (through RECF and/or AISES’ chapter members who are Native American professionals in STEM) who will facilitate their integration of new materials in their classroom.                  

With generous funding and support from GM Foundation, Northrop Grumman, Motorola Solutions Foundation, and the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund, AISES will be able to provide assistance to schools and community organizations interested in starting up new Robotics programming for their youth. 

If you are interested in bringing robotics to your school, please contact Tina Farrenkopf, Director of Programs, at AISES at or by calling 720.552.6123.   Support available includes financial assistance with teacher training, teacher stipends, technical assistance, and equipment assistance, with a funding maximum of $6,500 per school.  While this is a national program, we do have funds earmarked for an Oregon school team; schools from other states are encouraged to apply.