Teachers and students can watch and participate live on Friday 18 October at 12pm NZT via Twitch at: https://www.twitch.tv/firstinspires
The live stream, in collaboration with nonprofit FIRST, will feature state of the art robotics technology from inside an Amazon Robotics Fulfilment Centre so students learn more about robotics and the importance of a computer science education.
The live tour is the latest addition to Amazon Future Engineer – a four-part, childhood-to-career program that works to inspire and educate 10 million children and young adults each year from underserved and underrepresented communities to try computer science.
“This is an awesome opportunity for students across the country to learn about the innovative robotics and computer science technology that goes into delivering packages for our Amazon customers,” said Dave Clark, Amazon SVP, Worldwide Operations. “We know that today’s students are the innovators of tomorrow, and with Amazon Future Engineer, we will continue to provide opportunities that peak students’ curiosity and expand their educational horizons with fun, interactive, and creative experiences.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer-science-related jobs available and only 400,000 computer science graduates with the skills to apply for those jobs. Computer science is the fastest-growing profession within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) field, but only eight percent of STEM graduates earn a computer science degree, with a tiny minority from underprivileged backgrounds. Students from underprivileged backgrounds are 8 to 10 times more likely to pursue college degrees in computer science if they have taken AP computer science in high school.
On the tour, students will see first-hand how teams of associates work alongside robotic technologies to fulfil customer orders. They will see where inventory items are stowed into the system, learn how robots bring storage pods to our associates to pick customer items, and finally, they’ll see trucks being loaded with thousands of customer orders.
“Participating on a robotics team prepares students to succeed in a variety of roles and fields, and the STEM career net is wide. Nearly every job, especially jobs of the future, requires some extent of STEM literacy,” said Don Bossi, President, FIRST. “FIRST is thrilled to partner with Amazon to showcase the STEM that happens behind-the-scenes in a fulfilment centre, and what jobs in this space look like. We want young people to see the breadth of opportunities they can explore as they enter their professional careers.”
“Partnering with Amazon and FIRST allows us to engage in an opportunity that hasn’t ever been done in the history of our school: creating our own student-centred, STEM focused, robotics team,” said Karl Gapuz, a teacher at Seattle Public School’s Rising Star Elementary, who is part of the Amazon Future Engineer robotics program. “We centre our pedagogy on how we support our culturally and linguistically diverse students to grow up and be well-informed, social justice-oriented citizens in their communities. Access to this livestream tour is another example of how our students continue to get real-world experience and opportunities through this important partnership.”
Amazon currently provides more than 150 schools across the country with robotics programming, which includes funding to launch FIRST robotics teams along with teacher professional development, an additional $10,000 to expand access to computer science education at each school, and access to a tour of an Amazon robotics fulfilment centre as part of the Amazon Future Engineer program. The livestream will help bring access to more students, teachers and classrooms to inspire students to pursue STEM and computer science education.
Amazon is excited to partner with FIRST as part of this unique field trip opportunity because FIRST has a proven impact on STEM workforce development - 89% of FIRST Alumni declare a STEM major in college, and 70% of FIRST Alumni declare a major in engineering or computer science. FIRST students are three times more likely to show an increase in STEM interest than comparison group students. And, positive impacts are evident for all FIRST students.
FIRST is a robotics community that prepares young people in grades K-12 for the future. For 30 years, FIRST has combined the rigor of STEM learning with the fun and excitement of traditional sports, and the inspiration that comes from community through programs that have a proven impact on learning, interest, and skill-building inside and outside of the classroom. Data from a 5-year longitudinal study of FIRST by Brandeis University shows competitive FIRST robotics programs works for all youth. Across all demographic groups (gender, race, economic status and geography), FIRST students show significant gains in STEM knowledge, STEM interest, STEM career interest, STEM identity, and STEM activity compared to their peers who don’t participate. FIRST students are more likely to major in tech-focused science fields in college; by their second year of college, over 50 percent declare majors in engineering or technology. The impact on young women in FIRST is particularly profound. By their first year of college, female alumnae of FIRST are 3.6 times more likely to take an engineering course, and 1.9 times more likely to take a computer science course than female comparison students.
Launched in November 2018, Amazon Future Engineer is a four-part childhood-to-career program intended to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue careers in the fast-growing field of computer science. Each year, Amazon Future Engineer aims to inspire millions of kids to explore computer science; provides over 100,000 young people in over 2,000 high schools access to Intro or AP Computer Science courses; awards 100 students with four-year $10,000 scholarships, as well as offers guaranteed and paid Amazon internships to gain work experience. Amazon Future Engineer is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science/STEM education. In addition, Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $10 million to organisations that promote computer science/STEM education across the country.