When Analog Device's Young Professionals Network (YPN) was asked to support Science Buddies' upcoming project launch on autonomous vehicles, we knew it was a match like no other. Science Buddies is a nonprofit organization who aims to inspire and educate students of all ages with hands-on STEM explorations that reflect the students' unique personal interests. By providing highly personalized educational experiences, Science Buddies drives student discovery, engagement, and learning in STEM subjects.
Science Buddies resources are free so all students have access to high-quality STEM learning opportunities. Because of this, they reach more than 19 million educators and students who have little to no budget for STEM. Support from organizations like Analog Devices makes this possible.
"Free and open to everyone, we level the playing field, making STEM learning possible for students of all demographics." - Science Buddies
Science Buddies asked the YPN to provide their knowledge on how to turn the complex topic of autonomous vehicles into a digestible curriculum for K-12. We quickly sourced volunteers for this task who met over several weeks to brainstorm and provide research. Once the results were shared with Science Buddies, they were so pleased, they asked if we'd like to continue our efforts. Of course, we would!
The next step was to take the brainstorming on autonomous vehicles and turn it into concepts and ideas for projects. The team met weekly to ideate, discuss projects, and outline necessary materials needed. We then shared our concepts with Science Buddies for vetting and fine tuning. Science Buddies has now asked us to help turn four of our ideas into new resources for development that will live on their website for all to access.
An example of what the project's final product could look like. Sensors are mounted to the front of the vehicle with tape and popsicle sticks.
The team developed age-appropriate frameworks that offer just the right level of scaffolding for students. They also created accompanying video resources for three of the four projects. Concurrently with the YPN's work, the Analog Devices Foundation has awarded Science Buddies a grant of $25,000 so they can create, test and integrate the autonomous vehicle project on their website, as well as finance outreach to parents, students and teachers.
“I can't even put into words what having a student-friendly, but high-level science website like Science Buddies can do for my students…"
With ADI's help, Science Buddies launched the resources on their website during the first quarter of this year, and in the last few months, they have already reached over 6,000 K-12 students, parents, and teacher across the country using these resources. Note these are mostly educators since Science Buddies does not require students to register to access the resources. We expect the autonomous vehicle collection will reach at least 25,000 students per year, helping them to better understand how these vehicles work and perhaps encourage them to pursue careers in a related field.
We are thrilled to have partnered with Science Buddies to impact the future of STEM education. In many ways they are like a virtual science center with exhibits that reach students everywhere and hands-on learning experiences to which they may not otherwise be exposed.
A breadboard view of the circuit students will be creating in the project.
As one high school teacher recently shared: “I can't even put into words what having a student-friendly, but high-level science website like Science Buddies can do for my students… With Science Buddies, these dedicated students are given the support they truly need to safely explore opportunities to learn in other fields of science. They branch out beyond just studying planaria regeneration or soap vs. hand sanitizer and instead delve into BLAST and large-scale data analysis, using programming to build a robot for a specific purpose, and even testing the limits of transformation efficiency…"
A special thank you to our ADI volunteers:
- Matt Dwyer
- Nick Fernandes
- Bala Rajendran
- Kayla Skipper
- Michael Stetzler
- Revant Tandon
- Emily Wycallis
Learn more about Science Buddies here.