UIL Robotics

In a world where knowledge of STEM is vital in choosing a career, the variety of STEM related programs in schools was limited.

However, this has been recognized as a problem that needed to be resolved, so UIL has added a robotics competition!

This year has been the first year this is being implemented, and the competition has been divided into two divisions, BEST and FIRST. BEST is for smaller schools without official robotics programs, and FIRST is for schools with more advanced programs and teams.

Both divisions have had a huge impact on various schools, and they have definitely increased students’ interest in STEM and robotics!

We are looking forward to how this program will take shape over the course of the next few years!


National Engineering Week – Visioneering!

February 21-27 was National Engineering Week 2016! To kick off National Engineering Week, The Caruth Institute for Engineering Education in the Bobby Lyle School of Engineering at SMU hosted their 16th annual Visioneering event!

Lyle Visioneering

On February 20th, over 90 middle school teams from all over DFW came to SMU to display their engineering skills!

Lyle Visioneering

After teams arrived, they were welcomed in the auditorium through a welcoming ceremony where they learned about what engineers do, and they were presented with this year’s design challenge! This year’s challenge consisted of the students designing a classroom for the year, 2025. After they were given the challenge and some ideas, they were sent off to various classrooms across SMU to work on the project!

When in the classrooms, students met with their mentors (either a professional engineer, an engineering student from SMU, or a professor from SMU). Mentors introduced themselves, described the field of engineering, and discussed the engineering design process. Students were given time to brainstorm ideas that they had for their classrooms of the future based on things they thought were wrong with the classrooms of today. After brainstorming, students worked with a partner to design a drawing of what they think the classroom should look like. After the partner activity, students worked together as a team to finalize ideas before they moved on to their diorama.

After finalizing their ideas, students created a diorama of their classrooms with card-stock paper, construction paper, markers, and a shoe-box. Students got pretty creative with these dioramas.

Some students wanted courtyards inside, doors that lead to playgrounds, multiple floors (1 for education, 1 for studying), holograms on the walls, whiteboards/smartboards that were connected to each student’s desk, and more!


Students really got creative with their ideas for their classrooms!

After the creation of the classrooms, students were expected to present their creations to judges. Each student was expected to have a role in the presentation to explain each new idea they had for their classrooms.

After presentations/judging, students returned to the auditorium for snacks, an engineering panel, and awards! Six teams were awarded for various aspects of the project, but everyone left with the satisfaction of creating an engineering project!

Students and mentors enjoyed, alike, and students left knowing how to work in a team, to not be afraid to share their ideas, and with more knowledge about what engineers do!

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Visioneering 2016 was a success, and we can’t wait for next year!