teacher helping student learn about robotics

CREST-M Math and Robotics Curriculum

Today’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workforce is no more diverse than in 2001. With a $120,000 grant from the Bayer Fund, Maryville University’s Center for Access and Achievement work to close that gap by engaging young females, minority students, and students from low-income areas through a series of 3 STEM units aligned with mathematics Common Core State Standards and LEGO® WeDo 2.0 robotics kits.

Children using robotics for engineering, science, technology, and mathematics (CREST-M) created and evaluated 3 curriculum units. The project focused on developing elementary math skills using robotics and storytelling to be engaging for students from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields and to be appropriate for all ability levels including the gifted. Our mixed-methods study published in Roeper Review evaluated one CREST-M unit, The Tale of the Monarchs, aligned to the Common Core State Standards: Mathematics (CCSS-M) for fourth- and fifth grade fractions while incorporating all aspects of STEM.

The unit includes an engineering design loop to help students create and program robots using LEGO® WeDo 2.0. Students also use the scientific method in a problem-based learning (PBL) investigation in which they design and conduct experiments. The unit features a comprehensive storyline in which diverse characters solve real-world problems using STEM skills. The curriculum was evaluated through a CCSS-M aligned pre- and post-assessment of students’ understanding of fractions, the Cognitive Abilities Test Screening Form 7 (CogAT 7), and the Draw-a-Scientist pre- and post-assessment. The curriculum led to significant and meaningful gains in math achievement (Cohen’s d = 0.72) consistent for students at multiple ability levels (including high ability) and children from groups traditionally represented in STEM fields as well as those traditionally underrepresented (across gender, race, and socioeconomic status).

In addition, the mental models of the career of a scientist that students articulated before the program were markedly more complex and less stereotypical following the program, indicating increased understanding of the career of a scientist.

CREST-M: Children using Robotics for Engineering, Science, Technology and Math

Explore Measurement with Lucia & John: Strawberry Harvest for 4th Grade Students and high ability 3rd Grade Students

CREST-M: Children using Robotics for Engineering, Science, Technology and Math

Explore Fractions with Ana and John: The Tale of the Monarchs for 5th Grade Students and high ability 4th Grade Students

CREST-M: Children using Robotics for Engineering, Science, Technology and Math

Explore Multiplication with John and Avery: Disaster Relief on the East Coast for elementary students


CREST-M curriculum is available for classroom or personal use through the following sites:

Fractions for 4th and 5th Grade Students

Measurement for 3rd and 4th Grade Students

Multiplication for Elementary Students

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