<

Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program

Sponsored By:

The Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is an innovative and inspiring program for middle school students that is truly out of this world! The five-week STEM curriculum introduces students to computer programming, robotics, and space engineering, and provides hands-on experience programming SPHERES (Synchronized, Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). The program culminates in a tournament where winning teams’ SPHERES compete aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Middle school participants will get to see the SPHERES operate in space via a live feed from the ISS while NASA astronauts provide real-time commentary.

Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is provided through a partnership between the MIT Space Systems Lab, the Innovation Learning Center, and the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) with support from Aurora Flight Sciences. The Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is sponsored by NASA, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), and the Northrup Grumman Foundation.

Zero Robotics seeks to inspire our next generation of great minds by allowing them unprecedented access to space at the middle school level. By making the benefits and resources of the International Space Station tangible to students, Zero Robotics hopes to cultivate an appreciation of science, technology, engineering and math through healthy, immersive, collaborative competition.

Program Locations

Due to the complexities of programming in space within the context of a middle school summer program, we currently offer the 2015 Middle School Summer Program by invitation only. This year the Middle School Summer Program is available to selected middle-school aged teams in Alabama, California, Colorado, D.C. Metro/ Maryland, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, SEMAA, Texas, and West Virginia.

Program Overview

Zero Robotics provides educators with the necessary training and ongoing technical support needed to provide middle school students with an experiential learning opportunity in computer programming. Zero Robotics builds critical engineering skills, including problem solving, and teamwork. It connects students with prominent scientists and encourages them to pursue careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and/or math.

Student participants compete to win a technically challenging game by programming their strategies into the SPHERES. Students’ programs control the satellites' speed, rotation, and direction of travel. The students program their satellites to complete competition objectives, for example navigating obstacles, while conserving resources such as fuel. The programs are autonomous - that is, the students are not able to directly control the satellites while they are running.

Each year’s game is motivated by a problem of interest to NASA and MIT.

Students create, edit, save, and simulate projects online. They use a graphical editor to write code, then simulate their programs immediately and see the results using a simulation. The programming interface and simulation are entirely web-based, so ZR does not require any software downloads or computer configuration. The system even allows teams to compete against themselves so that they can test different strategies before finalizing their competition submissions.

Training Schedule*

Train the Trainer Session: May 2nd (8:30 am to 4pm EST) at MIT

National Educator Training

Training for the Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is provided in a two part sequence. Educators in each state meet together for the first training session and join on-line training for the 2nd session.

Dates/Times

- Part 1: Saturday May 9th (11:30 am to 5:30 pm EST)

- Part 2: Follow up Webinar  May TBD (time TBD EST)

* Massachusetts teams – see state coordinator for details

Program Periods :

The program schedule varies by state with the final ISS competition occurring in Mid- Aug.

Schedule 1:

 

During week beginning:

Week 1:

June 8

Week 2:

June 15

Week 3:

June 22

Week 4:

June 29

Week 5:

July 6

ISS Finals

Mid-Aug (tentatively Aug 14)

Schedule 2:

 

During week beginning:

Week 1:

July 6

Week 2:

July 13

Week 3:

July 20

Week 4

July 27

Week 5:

Aug 3

ISS Finals

Mid-Aug (tentatively Aug 14)