On the 16th of March, the MSU Robotics Club orchestrated a workshop Lighting the First Light of Your Robotics World by Arduino at the Buzz Aldrin Middle School where students were introduced to robotics components such as Arduino microcontrollers and sensors through hands-on activities.
The workshop was hosted by the Robotics Club President Omar Obidat and supported by executive board members Jesse Parron, Laury Rodríguez, Abeeha Rehman as well as their Advisor Dr. Weitian Wang and Computer Science Department Chairperson Dr. Constantine Coutras. The club was invited by the STEM Coordinator at Montclair Board of Education Daniel Taylor who became acquainted with MSU Robotics Club after being introduced by CSAM Dean’s Office.
The workshop commenced with opening remarks from Obidat and Dr. Coutras where they expressed their excitement about developing new STEM outreach programs between Montclair State University and the local community.
Students were handed a robotics programming kit containing an ultrasonic sensor and two LED lights connected to an Arduino board. The goal was to light up certain colored LEDs using a moving object in the range of sensors. Every student was also provided with a workshop activity sheet. The e-board members explained each line of code and then allowed the students the opportunity to tweak certain parameters to see how it affected their projects. Their customizations included changing the range of distance, the pattern of lights, and the location of pins on their boards.
The students were also responsible for filling out a questionnaire packet throughout the event. As such, each e-board member was responsible for five students to ensure they understood the concepts being taught as well as answer any questions they may have.
This workshop was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant CNS-2104742 and Grant CMMI-2138351. The success of this workshop indicates that a new STEM education bridge was built from Montclair State University to local schools. It also establishes a healthy academic environment where university students and K-12 students are able to collaboratively work on tangible STEM projects and brainstorm new ideas, which will highly nurture and boost their scientific creativity.