Robotics Workshop Inspires Students with STEM

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Engineers at Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Laboratories (ATL) have discovered the formula to getting students interested in science and engineering. Games + robots + loving what you do for a living results.

For the ninth consecutive year, a group of ATL engineers spent five fall Saturdays volunteering at the latest Robotics Workshop. Close to 40 middle school students from Pennsauken, Maple Shade and Cherry Hill, N.J. participated in the workshop which taught the students basic computer programming and engineering principles.

“When the students walk through the front door the first week, most know little or nothing about robotics or engineering,” ATL engineer and lead workshop instructor Mike Kopack.  “Four weeks later, they are writing their own software code to make robots accomplish a particular task, like using sonar to avoid objects, using light to follow a line, or using software to navigate a maze.”

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The ATL Robotics Workshop has been working with area students since 2005. Engineers developed the lessons and games based on their real world experiences. The program has grown every year to provide the students with a real foundation of understanding engineering and other technical careers.

ATL Director Robbie Mandelbaum volunteers at the program and has talked to the students about his experiences developing robotics for Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Government. “I want these students to understand that they are the future of engineering and robotics,” Robbie said.  “Their breakthoughs and ideas could change the world.”

"I am so thankful to the Lockheed Martin Engineers for volunteering their time and expertise, which has greatly helped me develop the 7th grade related arts robotics curriculum,” Tracey McSweeney, STEM teacher at Pennsauken Middle School said. “They have provided me with exciting robotics competition ideas to implement in my own classroom.  I believe they are inspiring students to start thinking about their future by getting them interested in robotics, engineering and problem solving."  

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November 20, 2014

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