Illinois Dist. 23 Ignites Passion For STEM With Robotics For Eighth Graders

Prospect Heights School District 23 is located in Prospect Heights, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Eighth graders at MacArthur Middle School in Prospect Heights are designing, building and programming a robot — and getting high school credit for it. It’s all part of the school’s new dual-credit Robotics class, the result of a partnership between Prospect Heights School Dist. 23 and Township High School Dist. 214.
The partnership enables students to do a deep dive into engineering and other STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields, with hands-on learning about things like mechanical engineering, programming, 3D modeling and design. MacArthur Principal Cam Nystrom said Dist. 23 worked with Dist. 214 administration to design the Robotics class so it has similar curriculum and outcomes as entry-level engineering classes at the high schools. Seventeen MacArthur eighth graders were selected to take part in the inaugural class this year. Upon successful completion, they will earn credit for high school Robotics 1.

Filip Dudic, who teaches Applied Technology and Robotics at MacArthur, says participating in robotics opportunities is beneficial whether students think they want to pursue STEM careers or not. “We are reinforcing creativity, problem solving and other critical thinking skills that are required in almost any job,” he said, adding that students are “working together, super engaged and having fun.” Our thanks to ChiBots member Terry Jackson for his assistance with this story. For details, visit