Alexi Badaoui first introduced Columbia Middle School (CMS) students to robotics through an after-school club. In 2008, he started teaching robotics as an elective class. The program has grown from one period accommodating 27 students to about 100 students spread over three periods, with beginning, intermediate and advance levels.
Mr. Badaoui runs a multi-disciplinary program for his robotics students, who are formally graded on their understanding of academic content, research reports, written response to instructional videos (e.g. robotics applications such as robots performing under-water explorations), their teamwork, problem-solving skills, and projects.
Mr. Badaoui had seen the hands-on approach to problem-solving bring forth excellent work from his students regardless of the students’ academic standing in core subjects. Students who had been struggling in other classes felt successful in the robotics class, giving them a new found confidence in their academic abilities.
News brief by Nina Wong-Dobkin, with assistance from Gloria Diaz, CMS