WaterBotics is the curriculum component of a National Science Foundation ITEST (Innovative Technology Experiences for Students & Teachers) Scale-Up grant, known as the Build IT Underwater Robotics Scale-Up for STEM Learning and Workforce Development (BISU) Project (Award #0929674). This five-year, $2.5 million program aims to reach between 6,000 and 11,000 middle and high school students and youth with an intensive science and engineering experience based in a series of underwater robotics design and programming challenges.
BISU, and NSF’s ITEST program are responses to the growing need to encourage and support greater numbers of youth—particularly those underrepresented in STEM fields—to pursue study and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The United States is challenged to meet the growing demand for a skilled technical workforce who possesses the innovation and creative spark needed to fuel a high-tech, global economy. WaterBotics has demonstrated to both increase student learning of science and engineering concepts, and to increase awareness of and interest in engineering careers, as part of a prior ITEST award implemented in New Jersey, Build IT, (Award #0624709) .
Guided by the results of research conducted during the Build IT implementation, the WaterBotics program will expand to four new states and nationally, working in collaboration with its regional and national partners.