EDUCATOR PROFILE: Peter Selby, Corona Del Mar H.S.

Peter Selby, Physics teacher, Science Chair and STEM coordinator at Corona Del Mar high in the Newport Mesa School District was recognized this fall as the UC Davis C-STEM teacher of the year. the award was bestowed based on Peter’s outstanding efforts in providing all physics students at his site with opportunities to engage in robotics and programming. Peter’s bio makes it clear why he was selected for this prestigious award.

“This is my 3rd year working with C-STEM Robotics. It all started in late 2013 when Coastline ROP organized a presentation from Dr. Harry Cheng to our district science and math teachers. I was intrigued by the presentation, but thoroughly hooked after the two day training in January. It was immediately apparent to me that this C-STEM Robotics could be a student-engaging curriculum for the Physics and Mathematics classrooms. The first spring was treated as a pilot program. I tested the equipment on 10 freshmen Robotics Club volunteers that met in my room at lunch. Two months later, I was amazed by the focus, enthusiasm and endurance demonstrated by the students in Roboplay Competition. After that encouraging year, we expanded the program to include Middle School students who practiced once a week in the afternoon. (up to 50 students involved) We have now reached the point where all Physics classes utilize Robotics units in the fall and spring (about 260 students.) I am working on finding new ways to utilize Linkbots in Physics activities and challenges. We will also be offering extra-curricular C-STEM Robotics and Programming on a daily basis to Middle School and High School students. Our parent foundation became so excited by our results in competition, they decided to remodel and repurpose a room on campus for robotics and STEM activities. We hope to make programming a main-stream extra-curricular activity on our campus this year. This should hopefully pave the way for robotics and programming in the normal school day in years to come!