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UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) --- Research and Outreach
Home > Teachers & Administrators > Professional Development > 2012-2013 > Winter Academy

Winter Academy

2013 Winter Robotics Academy

Robotics for STEM Education in the 21st Century

8:30am – 5:00pm, Saturday & Sunday, February 23-24, 2013
8:30am – 5:00pm, Saturday & Sunday, March 2-3, 2013
1062 Bainer Hall, UC Davis Campus

Robotics can easily get students engaged and excited in learning science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts with fun. The UC Davis C-STEM Center and its industrial partners have developed an innovative modular robotics technology called Mobot for integrating computing, robotics, and engineering into K-12 math and science education. A Mobot is designed as a building block. However, a single Mobot is a fully functional four-degrees-of-freedom robot. This full mobility allows a Mobot to perform a multitude of novel robot locomotion, including inch-worming, rolling, arched rolling, turning, and standing up. Multiple modules can be interconnected into various geometries for different applications, such as a snake, four-legged walker, and humanoid. Extending the existing C-STEM computing and Algebra curriculum, this Robotics Academy provides professional development for math/science/technology teachers with the cutting-edge robotics and teaching technology to engage students on critical thinking and collaborative learning of math, science, and engineering with the 21st century career skills. The academy will train teachers on computer-aided problem solving using a user-friendly C/C++ interpreter Ch and Mobot to integrate computing and robotics into SETM courses. Like previous C-STEM academies aiming at improving the Algebra curriculum, this Robotics Academy will also explore teaching Pre-Algebra and Algebra I with algebraic thinking by solving real-world problems and close the achievement gap in math and science education.

Topic Outline

The 2013 UC Davis Winter Robotics Academy is split into two weekends. The first weekend is an introduction to Computer Programming in C/C++ for the absolute beginners. The second weekend is for programming Mobot as well as 3D CAD design and 3D printing for Mobot for STEM Education. If you have prior computer programming experience in C/C++, you may just register for training in the second weekend. Outlines for each weekend are listed below.

Computer Programming in C/C++ (the first weekend)

  • How a computer works
  • Writing your first C program
  • Variables in algebra and their applications in computing
  • Math expressions and operators, and their applications in computing
  • Selection statements and loops in C (Logical reasoning, critical thinking, and their applications Graphing and Solving Quadratics)
  • Modular programming with functions in C (Writing functions and plotting)
  • Arrays for processing data in C (Visualize experimental and measurement data)

Programming Modular Robots for STEM (second weekend)

  • Controlling robots using a control panel
  • Introduction to programming for robots
  • Interacting with robots through variables and input/output functions
  • Controlling single robots through C/C++ programs
  • Controlling multiple robots through C/C++ programs
  • Writing programs to control multiple robots to perform identical tasks

3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and 3D Printing for Mobots (second weekend)

  • Assemble a Mobot using 3D CAD software PTC Creo Parametric.
  • Design parts working with Mobots using PTC Creo Parametric and for 3D printing
Intended Audience

This Academy is geared toward grades 5-12 teachers and afterschool program paraeducators, who teach Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Engineering, Technology, Robotics, Physical Science, Applied Physics, and other STEM courses. More specifically:

  • Teachers who are interested in learning new ways to engage students in analytical thinking and problem solving skills where traditional methods have failed.
  • Teachers who want to teach “at risk” and credit deficient students using hands-on activities and project-based methods in STEM subjects to close the achievement gap.
  • Teachers who want to teach “gifted” students to excel in math with hands-on activities and project-based methods.
  • Teachers who are looking to increase their use of computers and robotics as a teaching and learning tool.
  • Teachers who are interested in providing their students with 21st Century career skills.
  • Afterschool teachers and paraeducators who are interested in providing their students with hands-on STEM related activities.
  • Teachers interested in advising students on participating in the RoboPlay competitions.
Outcome for Trainees’ Students
  1. Through a set of interactive computing and applied problem solving activities in a C/C++ interpreter Ch, students will gain a better understanding of abstract math concepts and their applications
  2. Students will learn the fundamentals of computing and robotics, underlying working principles of computing, robotics, engineering,3D design/printing, and computer programming for problem solving.
  3. Students will be able to learn other STEM subjects, such as math, physics, robotics, engineering, biology, and chemistry, more effectively with computational thinking and computer-aided problem solving skills.
  4. Identify, formulate, and solve STEM problems
  5. Effectively use computer and computer programming for future employment.
  6. Understand working principals of robotics and program robotics to accomplish desired tasks.
  7. Students will be able to participate in the UC Davis Secondary School RoboPlay Competitions and Math Programming Competition on the UC Davis C-STEM Day in May each year. Students will learn team work and communication skills. RoboPlay is designed for K-12 students to play with robots while exploring their creativity in writing, art, music, choreography, design, and film making and at the same time seamlessly learn and apply computing and STEM concepts in solving practical problems.

Cost: $200/weekend/teacher if registered before February 8, 2013; $225/weekend/teacher if registered after February 8, 2013.

  • The two weekend training is split into two pieces. The weekend of February 23-24 is focused on C/C++ programming topics. The weekend of March 2-3 implements the programming while focusing on the Modular Robot developed by Barobo, Inc. Teachers with prior C programming experience should be able to skip the first weekend of the training.
  • We must have received your payment before instruction has begun on February 23 in order for you to be able to participate. Checks can be brought in person on the morning of February 23, thirty minutes before the instruction.
  • Please make checks payable to “The Regents of the University of California”.
  • Registration covers instruction, supplementary textbooks, teaching materials, software licenses for teaching, morning beverage, lunch, UC Davis C-STEM Center support for implementation of the program.
  • A modular robot Mobot-I will be used in the training. If you do not have one yet, you may get one by paying $150 in the registration.
  • A laptop running either Windows or Mac OS X is necessary during the training
  • Parking is free in Parking Lot 44 and Visitor’s Parking Lot 47 near Bainer Hall. You can get the driving Directions to UC Davis here.
  • Hotels in West Sacramento are available which offer competitive prices for attendees from outside the greater Sacramento area.
  • No refund after instruction begins.
  1. 16 Professional Development Credit hours upon training completion for teachers in Yolo County (Sacramento and other counties pending).

Harry Cheng, Professor and Director, UC Davis C-STEM Center
Kevin Gucwa, Director Assistant, UC Davis C-STEM Center


The deadline for early registration is February 8, 2013 to secure a spot at $200/weekend.
Registration is available: Register
Please make checks payable to “The Regents of the University of California” and send the checks to Kevin Gucwa listed below in Contact. Space is limited; please sign up early to reserve your spot. More information is available about the Winter Robotics Academy in pdf form here.


The UC Davis K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM)


UC Davis C-STEM Center, Yolo County Office of Education, Sacramento County Offices of Education, and California AfterSchool Network

Financial Supporter

National Science Foundation under the Grant No. CNS-1132709, IIS-1256780, and IIS-1208690


For general information, please contact:
Heidi Espindola, Project Manager
UC Davis K-14 Outreach Center for Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM)
Univeristy of California, Davis
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: (530) 752-9082
Email: hespindola(AT)ucdavis(DOT)edu