Please Bring back the STEM Project

I’m very disappointed in the direction that the RECF and VEX are taking. It seems like we’re lowering the standards, instead of raising them. The STEM Project is SO important, and teaches so many good real world skills, including: interview, research skills, presentation skills, writing skils, and many others. If a change needed to be made to the STEM Project, STEM needed to be added to VRC, not taken away from IQ. This is a HUGE step in the wrong direction. It’s very saddening.

I super pleased that STEM is no longer part of Excellence Award requirements. To be open and honest, I lobbied pretty hard every year STEM was a requirement. I want to be able to focus on building a robot, programming, strategy, communications with teams, doing the design notebook, being able to present what they did to the judges.

These are all things that are duplicated by the STEM project.

I’m a little surprised by the Video Submission. OTOH with it being due before an event judging becomes less pressured.

As a coach of 20 teams and an event partner, I love the change.

I was at an event partner meeting where we talked about this. Someone said “The IQ world is blowing up over this”. So I guess I’m not plugged into the IQ world, I’ve seen three comments here (1 for STEM, two happy to see the change) and a few comments on the VEX VRC forum. So are there teams that really feel disenfranchised at the STEM project not being so prominent?

There are more dissenting voices in the VEX IQ Facebook groups than there are here, from what I’ve seen.

We have a summer camp running this week and the view from the kids is positive. I belong to a couple of groups on Facebook but didn’t see anything there so I posed the question myself.

It seemed like the addition of the STEM project was because is was part of the EV3 track, they gave it a shot, and they now decided to go another way. I have heard a few EP’s say that they wanted to go to the video format anyway because it’s such a pain to schedule.

I also like that given that it is optional the next spot will go to skills. So, if your tournament has 5 spots, and you don’t do the STEM, then you will be able to give robot skills as a qualifier. I don’t know how often I’m going to get 5 at my tournaments but I’m glad that fifth spot can go to skills. This will also result in more double qualifications and will allow more teams to go to states from the skills list.

So it’s my understanding that events that lead to Worlds must have a STEM Project Award. If you have 5 or more slots, one of them goes to STEM

Excellence, Teamwork (2), Design, STEM

So it’s not gone, it’s just not a requirement for Excellence and as an EP I don’t need to offer it as an award.

@mionsinger – so in the other places was there a huge amount of posts or less than 5.

I posted it to a group and there are plenty of upset people out there.

The argument about lowering the standards is the most interesting to me. I had a group at WORLDS last year (crossover) that was paired up with the equivalent of a clawbot for 6 out of their 10 matches. The teams with the best STEM projects can easily lower the bar for teamwork. The median score in the MS Science division was 10 more than our state tournament. That’s an average of one more ring in the division that had the best match of ringmaster ever recorded.

Placing more emphasis on the robot at the robotics tournament will make the robots better. The kids will drive them better with more time to practice. The kids will build them better with more time to build.

I’m all about more better robots.

You seem to equate Clawbots at Worlds to STEM Award winners. Can you help me understand how you’ve arrived to that conclusion?

This year, one clawbot that our team was paired with at Worlds came off the Wait list. Most world qualifiers with simpler designs that we saw came from regions with fewer teams that had fewer competitions.

Our worst matches at Worlds were with overly complicated robots that failed spectacularly, so many points locked up in a broken mechanism that was amazingly designed. That’s alright, it’s a part of the experience and our kids got a lot out of it.

Way more than 5; I saw stuff in the VEX IQ World wide Coaches Association group, the VEX IQ Robotics group, and the VEX World Coaches Association group.

I am being nit-picky here, and I should have noted that above. I’m simply pointing out:

You go to the state championship with a great robot and a bad STEM. You go to WORLDS and you can do teamwork, but not STEM.
You go to the state championship with a great STEM and a bad robot. You go to WORLDS and you can do teamwork and STEM.

I shouldn’t have focused on the anecdotal data. However:

When my summer camp is over I can do more of a deep dive in the numbers. The truth is out there.

Not directed at you, but directed at the STEM winners: So you are playing with 500 other teams, teams that brought great robots. You are there with your bad robot, but a great STEM project. So your robot hurts the 10 teamwork teams you are playing with. How do teams go “Sorry for the bad score, but we have a great STEM project!”

Impressed that there are so many groups. Sad that the coaches and EP’s don’t post here. Still happy that I’ve never Facebooked.

As an outsider, I always thought the STEM presentation requirement was a distraction. When I heard about it, I kinda rolled my eyes, and it dissuaded me from getting involved in VEX IQ. Are we building robots, or are we making posters about arbitrarily chosen topics? It felt unfocused.

I’m a coach for the first time this year (brand new team, brand new kids). They want to build a robot. And lucky me (and them), STEM is optional! So we can just forget about that and build a robot.

Science fairs still exist and serve an important purpose. This is a robotics competition. Right? Well, at least as an outsider, that’s the most prominent, most interesting aspect of VEX IQ.

I always thought the STEM project was a distraction during an event as well. The one thing I noticed about the first event I went to this year: We didn’t have to postpone matches or wait on a team that was “doing STEM”. It was great, we finished ahead of schedule and the whole thing seemed to run smoother.