CSTEM supported robotics teams soar at FIRST competition

CSTEM Founder and director Dr. Reagan Flowers is all smiles as several of the schools that are participants in her awesome program made strides at the Lone Star Regional FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition. The four schools placing high in the popular technological event were Hogg Middle School, Thurgood Marshall High School, Sharpstown High School, Westside High School, Chavez High School, Carver High School and Phyllis Wheatley High School.

The regional FIRST competition was held in Katy, Texas during spring break. So instead enjoying the beach, video games and shopping malls, these students chose to engage in the battle of the minds. The FIRST Robotics Competition challenges teams of young people and their mentors to solve a common problem in a six-week timeframe using a standard “kit of parts” and a common set of rules. Continue reading

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Innovative Thinking Leads to Innovative Actions

Innovative Thinking Leads to Innovative Actions, which result in creative solutions that otherwise might not have derived from a preplanned strategy in a binder on your shelf, or a folder in your computer.

By Reagan Flowers, PhD

CSTEM subscribes to the notion that students must learn how to think critically and creatively, just as much as they need to learn math and science. One solution to reducing the dropout rate, developing competitive STEM students, and increasing the number of students, particularly minority and female students engaged in the pursuit of knowledge in math and science is creating more classrooms that thrive on real-world learning experiences that support applied knowledge, skills, research, and discovery. Schools must subscribe to learning environments that teach students how to approach problems from multiple perspectives, combining various approaches to developing innovative solutions. Similar to how CSTEM is working to assist Pre K-12 schools with transforming STEM classrooms and learning environments, Roger Martin of the Rotman School of Management is doing the same but with students in the business school.

Imagination is so vital to the work in STEM education in that it keeps learning magical and mystical. This approach has generated great success in the national CSTEM Challenge. Each year our curriculum team draws on imagination to develop (6) problems for students to solve encouraging them to consider multiple perspectives in the development of innovative solutions. The six challenges are in part created to provide students with real-world learning experiences that allow them to apply text book knowledge in coming up with creative solutions. In addition to the hands-on learning, we are developing “holistic thinkers” who think beyond the walls of their classrooms and are more willing to make important decisions. Continue reading

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