Research has shown that the US ranks 52nd in quality of education in mathematics and science and 5th in competitiveness (and declining) compared to other countries in the world. The reason for this is simple. Historically, the US education system and parents have not emphasized science and technology education as much as educators and parents in other countries. Yet demand for scientists and engineers continues to grow. This has created a vacuum in the United States where many science and technology jobs are available, but there are not enough Americans to fill the positions. These are very high paying jobs that are generally filled by personnel from other countries (such as China and India).
Demand for scientists and engineers is expected to grow at a rate far exceeding any other occupational field, while at the same time fewer and fewer students are pursuing careers in these areas, and when they are, they are often not performing at a sufficient level of academic achievement to be successful. The fact is, in order to adequately prepare our students to make a real contribution to the world, and to be able to truly succeed and lead in the modern workforce, we must provide them with a comprehensive STEM education. And according to the ACT Educational Planning & Assessment System (ACT EPAS) “students most likely to major in STEM fields in college (and persist to earn their degrees) are those who develop interest in STEM careers through early career planning and take challenging classes that prepare them for college-level science and math coursework.”
STEM and fischertechnik
The two aspects of the STEM education equation that have most often been overlooked in our schools are the “T” and the “E”--technology and engineering. According to Greg Pearson, a program officer with the National Academy of Engineering, "the T and especially the E are really just left out of the discussion in policy, education, and classroom practice." To help close this gap, materials are needed that allow educators to provide students with an engaging, hands-on introduction to technology and essential STEM-related concepts. Fischertechnik meets this need.
Fischertechnik is a flexible construction system that combines curriculum with products to provide the most innovative STEM education available. These unique components and kits allow a multitude of systems and system models to be created by slotting precision-engineered parts together.
Here are just a few of the STEM-related topics students can explore and learn about with fischertechnik: Mechanics--gears, pulleys, and electrical motors. Statics--stability, struts and braces. Pneumatics--making things move with air, the relationship between force and pressure. Renewable Energies--the production, storage and use of electrical energy and the regenerative energies from wind, water and the sun. Electrical Technology--electrical circuits and electromechanical controls; circuit, series and parallel connection. Robotics (aka Mechatronics and Computer Science) -- design machines and robot models, then use graphic software to program and control their actions.
Each fischertechnik educational set includes full color assembly instructions as well as a multi-language, black and white activity booklet with thematically related tasks and topics that can be covered in class and discussed. Additional worksheets can even be downloaded right from the fischertechnik web site.
Who uses fischertechnik? --high schools, colleges and universities worldwide who teach STEM concepts; the Project Lead The Way Program (PLTW) that provides students in over 3500 US schools with a rigorous and relevant STEM education; major corporations for vocational training, as well as for modeling and industrial simulations.
Choose Fischer Technik if:
1) You intend to teach STEM topics other than robotics and want to use the same building system for each. Fischer Technik Dynamic and its cousin Dynamic XL is the probably the best STEM building product that adequately addresses multiple Technology and Engineering disciplines.
2) You do not want to saw any metal
3) Ease of software debugging is a consideration. Fischer Technik's software allows the user to visually see what the program is doing via real-time wireless interaction between the software development computer and the system.
4) You have limited space. Fischer Technik models will be much smaller in physical size when built than Vex Robotics models. Fischer Technik robots require less space to move around.
5) You intend to launch Fischer Technik competitions.
6) You work in industry and want to build a model of your industrial system. Fischer Technik is the easiest way to build a scale model and program template that can be fully tested and later ported to the actual system.
Wondering what STEM product to use for Technology and Engineering with younger students or inexperienced middle-schoolers? We have a great selection! Our passion is to increase availability of STEM products for K-8 classrooms because we believe early exposure will encourage more children to continue down the STEM path. STEM Education and Modular Robotics have been funded by the National Science Foundation.
There are two product lines, Cubelets and Moss, for building robots with no programming required. They are held together with magnets so children may quickly and easily build a creation and see it move. This is partularly important for K-5 children who do not have the patience to wait and see.
Cubelets are ideal for STEM educators looking for products to teach children of ages 4-11. Moss, on the other hand is appropriate for ages 8-11. Together, Cubelets and Moss allow children to quickly explore ideas, utilizing their creativity to the fullest, and immediately seeing results without going through a tedious programming cycle via trial and error. Although there is no programming, Cubelets can be controlled via a Smartphone application (i.e. using the Smartphone as a remote control).
If you are an educator and would like to know more about using fischertechnik or Modular Robotics in your classroom, please email us at “email@example.com”. Just let us know your name, position, your email address and/or phone number, the school you work with and what state or province you are in, and we contact you directly.