Education Technology

Meet TI’s STEM Squad and Request a Visit for Your School

Posted 11/08/2019 by Ellen Fishpaw (@ellenfishpaw)

In honor of National STEM Day, we want to introduce you to the Texas Instruments (TI) STEM Squad, a team of former teachers, current teachers and TI employees that’s on a mission to get more kids interested and excited about STEM subjects.

Since the summer of 2018, TI’s STEM Squad has been touring the country sharing activities that help make STEM concepts relevant to kids. With 10 stops to date, in cities from the east coast to the west coast, the STEM Squad has been showing students from elementary school through high school how to get started with coding and inspire innovation.

Students in gym interact with TI-Innovator™ Rover
The STEM Squad from Texas Instruments is bringing fun, interactive and hands-on STEM lessons to kids across the country.

The STEM Squad has put together a selection of fun and simple activities that introduce students of all ages to STEM, coding and the basics of engineering design. For example, in some cities, students have programmed their TI-Innovator™ Rovers to do choreographed dances. We’ve seen students program their Rovers to floss, wobble and just about everything in between. Who knew Rover, or middle school students, had such moves?

Students dance with TI-Innovator™ Rover.
Students at Falcon Elementary in Colorado Springs, Colorado, programmed their TI-Innovator™ Rovers to do a choreographed dance.

Another one of the STEM Squad’s favorite activities involves helping students learn how to program robotic cars to navigate through a 3D-printed city we call Math-hattan.

Students move the TI-Innovator™ Rover through tall buildings.
Students at Parkville Middle School in Baltimore use math to write programs on Texas Instruments’ newest graphing calculator, the TI-Nspire™ CX II graphing calculator, that drive a robotic car around a futuristic, 3D-printed city.

Using a TI graphing calculator, students program their robotic vehicles to drive to different places in Math-hattan, like a football stadium, the park or an electric charging station. Talk about a crash course in programming! Most of the kids have no prior experience and leave as confident programmers. “It’s not really that hard after you get used to it. It’s really easy to control and navigate,” said Baltimore seventh-grader Khudaijah Amin.

After a bit of trial and error, just about everyone has success, but more importantly, they have fun. “It’s especially cool because we live in a world where there’s a lot of opportunities for this and it’s really fun to kind of explore,” said Baltimore seventh-grader Zachary Dusza.

Who knows? TI’s STEM Squad may pop up at a school or summer camp near you. Tweet at us, @TICalculators, and tell us why the STEM Squad should visit your school. And if you are curious, here is where the STEM Squad has been so far:

  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Austin, Texas
  • Portland, Oregon
  • Richardson, Texas
  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • Boston, Massachusetts

About the author: Ellen Fishpaw is the Media Relations and Communications Manager for Texas Instruments Education Technology. Before joining TI five years ago, Ellen was a broadcast journalist for 13 years, working at television stations across the country, from North Carolina to New Mexico. She most recently worked for NBC 5 in Dallas as a crime reporter before hanging up the microphone for a TI-84 Plus CE. Follow her on Twitter @ellenfishpaw.