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EdTech’s Yang leads STEM+C after-school projects

DAZHI YANG

Dazhi Yang is looking forward to another fun year of NSF-funded technology projects in Boise-area middle schools.

The project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for more than $1 million to support a STEM + Computing Partnership between Boise State University, the Boise Parks and Recreation Department and the Boise School District.

Yang, an EdTech associate professor, is lead investigator on the three-year grant that allows Boise State STEM researchers to build and pilot a Community Center After-school Program (CCAP) model to guide the integration of computing thinking across K-12 STEM disciplines at three community centers and their three affiliated Kid City Programs serving high-need, Title I schools in Boise.

The CCAP model focuses on student learning and teacher professional development for both pre-service teachers (students pursuing a teaching degree) and in-service teachers from the Boise School District. This project has broad impact on K-12 STEM and computing education for high-needs students and provides them with an opportunity to learn STEM +C content in informal and formal settings.

Last year, students opted to build robots or bridges. Robotics teams learned to program their ‘bots to move and turn. The bridge teams constructed bridges to withstand earthquakes. Each inter-locking piece was assigned a cost, so students had to consider both strength of design and cost.

At the end of the school year, the middle-school teams brought their ‘bots and bridges for a little competitive fun.

The bridge builders put their bridges on shaker tables to see if they would hold a load and maintain integrity under the simulated pressures of an earthquake. When ties occurred, the less-costly bridge won.

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