FIRST Washington has introduced thousands of students to Computer Science (CS) and STEM through its series of Robotics competitions, including 600 FIRST® LEGO® League teams last year alone. Most teams are after school clubs, which can limit access for traditionally under-represented CS/STEM students. To help drive CS/STEM equity statewide, Robotics needs to be a daytime classroom offering, enabling under-represented students to envision CS/STEM as a part of their future before they enter high school.
FIRST Washington’s “STEM Robotics 101: Computer Science for the Masses” proposal was awarded funding by OSPI through the Computer Science Education Grant opportunity created by House Bill 1813 to launch the statewide STEM Robotics 101 Professional Development Program in April 2016. During this pilot year, the STEM Robotics 101 PD program reached 228 teachers with seventeen 2-day Intro workshops at 9 sites around the state and also began follow-up 1-day Advanced Topics workshops.
FIRST Washington continues to work with public and private partners to continue this impactful STEM Robotics 101 PD program beyond the pilot year.