Schools that participated in the Robotics and Solar Energy exercise:

  • Red Bank High School
  • Center for Creative Arts
  • Hamilton County High School
  • Brainerd High School
  • Central High School
  • Tyner Academy
  • Hixson High School
  • STEM School
  • East Ridge High School
  • East Hamilton High School
  • Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy
  • Polk County High School
  • Chattanooga School for Arts and Sciences
  • Dalton High School
  • Dalewood Middle School

Twenty-five teachers from 15 local schools built solar-powered robots to take back to their individual classrooms.

It kind of looks like the wheeled container that gardeners use to hold their tools while they sit on it to save their aching backs.

Well, except for the solar panel on top and the computer motherboard and wiring underneath and UTC spelled out in clear-plastic letters on each side.

The device is actually a robot built during EXCEL: Exploring Clean Energy through hands-on Learning, a five-day conference held June 19-23 at UTC and hosted by the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences. The robot building was part of the Robotics and Solar Energy exercise.

The College of Health, Education and Professional Studies and College of Arts and Sciences also were instrumental in programming the conference. Other programs included Introduction to Design Thinking, 3D Manufacturing and Energy Storage.

Twenty-five math and science teachers from 15 schools in Hamilton, Bradley and Polk counties, Dalton and Cleveland built robots during the program. Teachers in grades ninth through 12th, they will take what they learned back to their schools.

“Their ultimate goal is to learn new technologies, understand how to bring them to their class, increase awareness among their students for the STEM field, and help students to be much more real-world ready about new technologies,” says Dr. Neslihan Alp, department head of Engineering Management and Technology and director of graduate programs for the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Each also will receive 25 robotic kits this fall to use in their classrooms. The kits are being provided by TechTown, the college’s partner when it came to securing the $74,000 grant from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. This marks the first time the College of Engineering and Computer Science has received a grant through THEC’s Improving Teachers Quality program.

Chattanooga’s TechTown also helped run the Robotics and Solar Power program, which covered 15 hours of instruction, says Chris Ramsey, CEO of TechTown, a local learning center that focuses on hands-on technology programs for teachers as well as students from second through 12th grades.

“We will continue to work with UTC on future teacher professional development efforts, providing access to our facility, technology, and staff experts,” Ramsey says.

With the robots taken back to their schools, they “teach students how to build, program, and operate a robot that works with the solar power,” Alp says.

“This was a great opportunity to share our knowledge and experience with teachers who teach math and science,” Alp says. “For some of them, it was the first time they were at UTC and CECS.

“It was a great opportunity to show them our campus, facilities, labs, classrooms, etc.”

Media Relations Contacts: Email Shawn Ryan or call 423-425-4363.
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