STEM by Design

STEM by Design: Teaching with LEGO Mindstorms EV3

 Barbara Bratzel

Foreword by Chris Rogers



Acoupleofmonthsago,oneofmystudentsrecounted a conversationshehadhad withanadmissionscounselorat a school interview. She was telling the counselor about her science class, when the woman started asking her about specific robotics projects from the class—have you built music boxes yet? Cars without wheels? Robotic snails?

I was mystified. Who was this admissions counselor? An ex-student of mine? A past parent? How did she know about the class? It turns out that the counselor had no connection with my school. Instead, she had heard so much about the robotics class from students at interviews over the years that she was familiar with many of the projects we did.  That story made my day. I want to get kids fired up about STEM—and robotics and engineering design are powerful tools for doing that. Building something that actually works or writing a program that actually runs is exciting—and empowering.

STEM topics have been much in the news of late—the growing number of jobs in STEM fields, the dearth of women and people of color in STEM fields, the inclusion of engineering in the Next Generation Science Standards, the poor showings on tests of technological literacy among Americans young and old, the debate over whether every student should learn to code. Though people argue about the details, there is an emerging consensus that STEM education is vital—and lacking.

Robotics and engineering are great   vehicles for teaching STEM concepts   in an integrated way. They teach important skills as well: critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration, and communication. Working on projects shows kids that there is no single correct answer; that failure can be an important way of gaining knowledge; that perseverance, resilience, and flexibility, as well as technical knowledge, are vital to success.

This book is full of projects, large and small. Projects to teach programming. Projects to teach math and physics concepts. Projects to teach engineering design. Projects to teach kids to think creatively and work together to solve problems. My hope is that as the students do these projects, they will gain STEM knowledge, problem-solving skills—and enthusiasm.

Table of Contents


Part One: Getting Started

Part Two: Introductory Activities

Part Three: Programming Sequences

Part Four: STEM Activities

Part Five: Data Logging Activities

 Part Six: Engineering Projects

Part Seven: Low Tech Labs


A: Activities Listed by Topic

B: Mindstorms Equipment Used in Each Activity


STEM by Design

Printed Version, Paperback book with Grayscale Illustrations

Copyright 2014,  288 Pages,  978-1-935673-17-0

$40.00 plus 5.00 for shipping.


STEM by Design

CD Version with pdf file, CD Disc with Color Illustrations

Copyright 2014,  288 Pages, 978-1-935673-17-0

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