NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - Seventh grade students Om Desai of New Providence Middle School & his friends Gyan Ghoda & Siddhant Desai, as a part of Team AIRO, are recognized as 2017 MaPD (Making a Positive Difference) by Davidson Institute of Gifted & Talented for the community activities that they have been doing. They have been teaching younger kids STEM related subjects and mentoring them for extracurricular activities & competitions, using a unique concept that they have developed: "Young Students Teach Younger Kids".

In the year 2016, Team AIRO has successfully taught around 30 kids ranging from 2nd graders to 6th graders, Scratch 2.0 programming and Lego EV3 robotics. They are also working very closely with non-profit organizations like jerseySTEM. The goal and a vision of Team AIRO is that more and more talented young students will join this movement to teach younger kids STEM related topics which are not always available in the school curriculum and are often expensive to learn at private institutes.

Team AIRO has a Facebook page where they often share the information and post the brochure when they are about to start a new teaching session. Young students from the surrounding community are welcome to take advantage of these classes. They also have a YouTube channel to showcase activities they have been doing.

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If your young girl or boy wants to work with Team AIRO to participate in such volunteering activities, or if you are an organization that wants to work with Team AIRO to conduct or support such volunteering activities, then please reach out to Team AIRO via their Facebook page.

Note: MaPD page of Davidson Institute of Gifted & Talented web-site is only accessible with member ID/Password. So, pictures are attached with this article. Also, note that the name of other MaPD students are removed to adhere to their policy.

 

This is the actual publication on the web-site:

How I am MaPD:
Hi, I am Om. As I grow, I am realizing more and more about my deep interests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), while at the same time understanding that STEM related education for young students doesn't come easy. It is often not available at public schools, very expensive at private institutes, and often isn't fun enough to keep young students focused in learning. I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by resourceful parents, friends & family, and teachers from a young age. I have learned a lot in the areas of STEM, especially robotics and Programming, but not every young girls and boys are that fortunate. Some do not have money to spend, while some do not have resourceful people around them to teach. This awareness along with my keen urge of doing something for the community has inspired me to teach younger kids in the community STEM related subjects.

Fortunately, in mid 2016, with the support of two like-minded friends, we formed a group call Team AIRO (AIRO stands for A. I. Robotics. www.airobotics.us), and we now do our STEM related group activities together. I have started the concept of "Young Students Teaching Younger Kids" where, young students like me (I am in 7th grade) first learn a subject, practice teaching younger kids this subject, and then put it in the practice. We have been conducting classes to teach younger kids robotics and programming by the mean of fun workshops. We ask for an optional donation of a very reasonable amount to teach student. We conduct classes in our parent's basement to keep our cost low and we worked with non-profit organizations (e.g. JerseySTEM http://www.jerseystem.org/) also where we use their facilities. So far we have successfully taught around 30 students ranging from 2nd grade to 6th grade programming (mainly Scratch: https://scratch.mit. edu/) and robotics (mainly Lego EV3: https://www.lego.com/en- us/mindstorms/about-ev3). We also successfully mentored two Jr. First Lego League teams comprised of around ten 2nd & 3rd graders.

We get very inspirational feedback from students and parents. I get so much satisfaction from seeing 2nd graders building a game or expressing themselves through animation built using Scratch programming. The donations we receive for this teaching helps us buy resources like robotics components and books, and also helps us to pay competition registration fees and similar costs. Its a win-win for us and the younger students.

We have also mentored and motivated older students, including high school girls, who managed to teach many younger kids. My hope is that this will become a community movement where more and more students will be inspired and motivated to give back to the community by teaching younger kids. The successes we get as a team and as individuals so far at school, extracurricular activities, robotics/programming/math challenges ,etc., will certainly inspire other young students and younger kids.
We have also started a Facebook account (https://www.facebook.com/prof ile.php?id=100011204075059) with the help of our parents, and we regularly post activities and invitations, and share new found knowledge, news and events related to STEM. We regularly participate in many other online communities to share our knowledge and STEM ideas.