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UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) --- Research and Outreach
Home > Teachers & Administrators > Professional Development > 2013-2014 > Summer Institute 2013 > Algebra and Robotics

Algebra and Robotics

Pre-Algebra and Algebra Support with Computing and Robotics
— Using 21st Century Skills To Strengthen Logical Thinking


Location: 1062 Bainer Hall
Time: 8:30am-5:00pm
Date: July 1-3 & 5, 2013

Course Description

Algebra is one of the most difficult topics for students to learn. It is considered the gatekeeper for student’s pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Working with K-12 educators, the UC Davis K-14 Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM) has developed a new strategy to support Algebra instruction. This academy trains educators who teach Pre-Algebra and Algebra I in both classroom and afterschool programs to effectively use this new strategy. Through a sequence of well-designed simple, concise, and self-contained math lab sessions with hands-on computing and robotics activities, basic concepts of Algebra will be reinforced through practical applications. Concurrently, students will learn the fundamentals of computing, underlying working principles of computers, and computer programming, and robotics for problem solving. The C-STEM Center will help trainees to implement the program in their curriculum durng the academic year.

Intended Audience

This Institute is geared toward grades 5-12 teachers and afterschool program paraeducators teaching Algebra Readiness, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, as well as other math, science, and engineering 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” students using hands-on activities and project-based methods in the areas of math, science, and technology.
  • Teachers who want to teach “gifted” students to excel in math with hands-on activities and project-based methods.
  • Teachers looking to increase their use of computers as a teaching and learning tool.
  • Teachers interested in providing students with 21st century career skills.

Outline of Topics

  • Order of Arithmetic Operations
  • Fundamental Properties of Numbers
  • Variables and Their Applications in Computing
  • Ratios and Proportions
  • Scientific Notations
  • Irrational Numbers
  • Probability
  • Graphing and Solving Linear Equations
  • Understanding Functions
  • Evaluating and Plotting Polynomials
  • Graphing and Solving Quadratics
  • Plotting Inequalities and Systems of Inequalities
  • Graphing and Solving Systems of Linear Equations
  • Graphs of Rational Functions
  • Radical and Exponential Functions

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 algebra concepts and their applications
  2. Students will learn the fundamentals of computing, underlying working principles of computers, computer programming, and robotics for problem solving
  3. Students will be able to participate in the Secondary School Math Programming Competition and RoboPlay Competitions on the UC Davis C-STEM Day.


  • Deadline for early registration: May 24, 2013
  • Final deadline for registration: June 17, 2013
  • $499 for one course / $799 for both this course and the complementary one registered before May 24, 2013;
    $599 / $899 before June 17, 2013. Space is limited; please register here to reserve your space.
  • Please make checks out to “The Regents of the University of California”.
  • The July 4th Holiday will be observed.
  • A modular robot Mobot will be used in the training. If you do not have robot yet, you may get one for $150 and two for $300 in the registration.
  • Registration covers instruction, supplementary textbooks, teaching materials, software licenses for teaching, morning beverages, lunch, and UC Davis C-STEM Center support for implementation of the program during the academic year
  • No refund after instruction begins.


  1. An optional $130 for 3 Continuing Education Unit quarter credits from UC Davis Extension. Credits request forms available on the first day of the class.


The UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education (C-STEM)


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

Financial Supporter

National Science Foundation under the Grant CNS-1132709


For more information, please contact:

Heidi Espindola, Project Manager
UC Davis Center for Integrated Computing and STEM Education
University of California
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Phone: (530) 752-9082
Email: hespindola(AT)ucdavis(DOT)edu

Teachers’ Testimonials

“I used the C-STEM Algebra curriculum last year. The material provided students with real-world skills proving math to be both applicable and enjoyable. Standards-aligned and user-friendly computing activities are an exceptional addition to my Algebra I curriculum because it helps make abstract ideas concrete and allow students to apply mathematical concepts to the real world.”

— Francesca DeFazio, Math Teacher and MA, Westmore Oaks Elementary School

“The C-STEM curriculum allows students to practice their math skills outside of the traditional classroom learning while getting a unique opportunity to develop skills that can directly lead to job possibilities in the future. This is an excellent combination of technology, problem solving, and a chance to strengthen logical thinking. I will definitely be integrating this into my classroom in the coming year.”

— Megan Schoellhamer, Math Teacher, Bridgeway Island Elementary School

“The C-STEM Pre-Algebra and Algebra curricula can benefit kids by providing them with an engaging and accessible way to learn math concepts that can be very challenging for some students. This is a way for students to learn that makes abstract concepts more real.”

— Spencer Krautkraemer, Math Teacher, Esparto K-8 School

“The C-STEM Algebra curriculum extends my students math knowledge and engages them in real world application of the standards I am teaching. It truly is a math curriculum that utilizes technology rather than the other way around. The computing curriculum allows my students to delve even farther into programming as they learn project-oriented techniques that are commonly used in industry. After exposure to this curriculum my students leave excited about what they have learned, how they can apply it and their own potential for a STEM related career.”

— Heidi Espindola, Math Teacher and Math Dept Chair, California Aerospace Academy, Gateway Community Charters, Twin Rivers Unified School District


“This is a great way to engage kids in math- especially those students who struggle to see how math relates to the real world. When we talk about giving kids ’21st century skills’ and ‘closing the achievement gap’, the C-STEM curricula can really make a difference for students and teachers.”

— Brian Donnelly Ed.D., STEM Program Coordinator and Industrial Technology Teacher, Harper Junior High School

“The C-STEM Pre-Algebra and Algebra curricula can benefit kids by giving students the opportunity to increase their logical reasoning skills. This curriculum is accessible to all students and can be easily adapted/integrated into any existing algebra program.”

— Karl Ronning, Math Teacher, Davis Senior High School

“Unlocking a well hidden truth: Math can be a wonderfully creative and useful tool, not only in school but in your everyday life. Using Ch as a medium allows students to be the artists and algebra to be the paintbrush.”

— Chris Schlesselman, Lead CTE Teacher, Technology & Engineering Design Academy, Hiram W Johnson High School

“The C-STEM Pre-Algebra and Algebra curricula can benefit kids by making mathematics an exciting, interactive, tangible thing. Not only will this content help students in their math classes, it will initiate them into a fraternity of a very few, those that can program computers! These are marketable skills that can help pay college bills and pave their way to rewarding occupations. I am very proud to have been a part of this program because I know it will help kids.”

— Joseph Stymeist, Engineering Teacher, School of Engineering and Sciences

“The C-STEM curriculum will benefit students by providing them with the necessary critical thinking and problem solving skills that the job market requires. I feel that in our current curriculum ideas and facts are stressed more than strategies and analytic skills. In my opinion, by stressing the strategies and skills needed to solve problems, rather than focusing on all the individual problems themselves, our students will be fully equipped to tackle any obstacle. The C-STEM curriculum will provide such skills.”

— Ryan Mangan, Engineering Teacher, School of Engineering and Sciences