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BCCC Uses Robots To Improve Math Skills, Foster STEM Careers

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A couple of years ago the National Science Foundation gave Baltimore City Community College an $800,000 grant to build a robot lab.

Now, as Mike Schuh reports, they’ve followed up with more money to enable students to go into science careers.

What would you do if 90 percent of the incoming students to your college needed remedial help in mathematics?

Perhaps toy robots wouldn’t be your first answer, but math professors Michael Kaye and Dr. Yun Liu think it may be the best answer.

“We will show them the mathematics related to robotics,” Liu said.

“To make it fun for them to get them engaged, excited and get them excited to pursue a STEM degree or STEM career,” Kaye said.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering or math.

By playing with robots, the students enjoy and develop their math skills

“I run a class. It’s supposed to be over at 4 o’clock, but many times it’s 4, 5 and I have to flash the lights and say ‘Day’s over. Let’s come back again tomorrow,’” Kaye said.

It seems simple: make education fun and the fun seekers will become educated. But no other community college in the country is doing what’s being done in this room.

And the National Science Foundation kicked in $600,000 to offer the classes to all who enroll at BCCC.

“I would like to devote myself to the students from the urban area,” Liu said.

The robots to improve math skills classes aren’t for credit. But once completed it will allow a student to succeed in those credit courses, and that adds up.

“Based on our study, we believe this project will be a huge success,” Liu said.

Those new classes begin in the fall semester.

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