The Whitacre College of Engineering Outreach Program is committed to developing and supporting the implementation of high quality and innovative STEM programming for K-12 students, teachers and the community through engagement, education and communication about the importance of STEM.
GEAR is an eight week robotics challenge held each spring that is designed to excite young students in grades K-8 about engineering. We believe that all children should have equal access to opportunities, therefore there is no cost to participants other than time and travel and the competition is open to all interested elementary and middle schools and after school clubs. Working in teams of 3-5 students, the challenge requires teams to use LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT or EV3 kits to design, program, troubleshoot, test, and improve their robots at their schools/clubs under the guidance of a teacher/coach. The theme of the competition changes every year and is motivated by real world applications of robotics (automated farming, robotic surgery, unmanned space travel, etc.). Program faculty lead for GEAR is Dr. Tanja Karp.
West Texas BEST is a six week robotic competition for middle school and high school students that occurs each fall. School participation is free and any school is eligible to participate regardless of socioeconomic status, size, or location. Many of the materials necessary for participation are provided for teams free of charge. Teams have six weeks from the unveiling of the competition theme to develop a robot that will successfully complete the challenge assigned for that year. Teams are mentored by Texas Tech students. Program faculty lead for BEST is Dr. Richard Gale, P.E.
The FIRST® TECH CHALLENGE (FTC) is a mid-level robotics competition for students in grades 7th-12th (ages 12-18). FTC is designed for those who want to compete head-to-head using a sports model. Teams of 10+ students - including coaches, mentors, and volunteers - are required to develop a strategy and construct robots based on sound engineering principles. Teams design, build and program robots to compete in an alliance format against other teams to solve the game task for a given year. The robot kit is reusable from year to year and is programmed using a variety of languages. Awards are given for the competition, as well as for community outreach, design and other real-world accomplishments. Program faculty lead for FTC is Dr. Alan Barhorst, P.E.
The "Science in the Movies" show gets students excited about science and gives them
clear and memorable examples of key science concepts in action.
With every stunt Wolf emphasized health and safety, including seat belts; home fire safety planning; stop, drop and roll; anti-smoking; lightning safety; and healthful eating. He also showed students that violence in movies is really just science in a different form – an explosion is nothing more than the interplay of circuits, pressure and force.
"Action entertainment is a proven way to get and hold kids' attention," Wolf said. "We're using that attention to teach the basics of physics, chemistry, mathematics, mechanics, heat, electronics, engineering and computers."