This week, San Francisco-based RobotsLAB released The BOX, a kit for math teachers that contains four robots — a ball, an arm, a rover, and a flying drone — designed to help teach concepts found in the standard US middle school and high school math curriculum. For example, the ball, named Sphero, can be controlled wirelessly by tablet software “to demonstrate momentum, centripetal force, linear equations and probability.” The Android tablet is included in the $3,500 BOX, along with lessons and accessories.
What’s the Big Idea?
Anything that will encourage more interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects should certainly be welcome considering that — according to a Harvard University study — 62 percent of future American jobs will require proficiency in certain STEM topics, yet only 32 percent of the high school class of 2011 was proficient in math. Fortunately teachers don’t have to be skilled in robotics to use the BOX: All information is preloaded on the tablet and can be used with the robots within minutes. Also, classrooms can share the kit, making its cost more affordable for schools.