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Robots Developed At UC Davis Help Students Develop Math Skills

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DAVIS (CBS13) – The idea of robotic teachers certainly might frighten parents, but UC Davis just got a big grant to create not a teacher replacement, but more of a teacher assistant.

When students are trying to do math or equations like y=l+2b, it’s easy for them to get frustrated.

But to get those answers, UC Davis has now come up with a way to help them, and that’s by r-o-b-o-t.

That’s right robots in the classroom.

UC Davis Director of Mechanical Engineering DR. Harry Cheng wants more students to learn math and science to excel in real life, but for many, their knowledge stops at algebra.

“We need to update the skill set of the teachers,” said Cheng.

By giving them tools that roll, bend, twist, and teach, not as a teacher replacement, but rather an assistant.

“It can easily connect,” Cheng said of the robot.

The idea here is all the questions on any algebra or physics test can be answered by visualizing them first.

“When I was in school, it was word problems, get a number on paper. Either it’s right or its wrong,” said Kevin Gucwa.

Gucwa is the Ph.D student who helped create this future form of formula solving.

“Being able to visualize and doing something with their hands is a lot easier to understand,” said Gucwa.

The robot was invented at UC Davis and the school received more than $1 million in grants to research teaching techniques that fall outside the books.

With 1.2 million dropouts across the country, Dr. Cheng believes if students see math and science in this way, they may not be so quick to quit.

The robots have been in some classrooms for the past three years, and those students rated with Fs are now getting As in algebra, so the robots get a pass.

The robots will be in more Sacramento middle and high schools for another three years, so they can track student grades.

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