Grade 6 students visited Uber Advanced Technologies Group (ATG) in the Strip District for a behind-the-scenes look at the tech giant’s Pittsburgh headquarters. Students toured the Uber offices, met with female engineers and program managers, and learned about Uber’s self-driving cars as a precursor to their robotics unit in the Creative Programming II and Robotics course.
Impressed by the innovative, new-age environment, students excitedly explored the in-house “shop” where the self-driving cars are upgraded with Uber’s exclusive technology and gadgetry before they hit the streets. Uber engineers and mechanics explained the various stages of installation to students as they looked inside the vehicles and asked questions about the different inputs and outputs the cars use to run safely in the city.
The Class of 2024 then met with female employees for a roundtable discussion about their work at Uber and the presence of the self-driving cars on the road. The women explained that Uber ATG’s long-term goal is to improve transportation as a whole by reducing the number of traffic accidents, cutting pollution and congestion, and freeing up designated parking spaces for other uses. This emphasis on community impact was particularly pertinent to the sixth grade as their robotics unit is centered around a project where students are challenged to design a robot that helps people solve a problem.
“I want my students to understand that robotics have a very real impact on our everyday lives,” said Computer Science Teacher Michele Lombardi. “Uber doesn’t make self-driving cars for the sake of having robot cars on the road, they make them because they want to improve the future of transportation. It’s important the girls understand that computer science is most influential when used to make change for the better.”
This unique field trip opportunity exposed students to local women leaders in STEM and cutting-edge applied robotics and computer science. At Ellis, faculty members actively pursue and embrace partnerships with the local tech community to integrate real-world experiences into the curriculum and empower students to envision themselves as future computer scientists and engineers.
Learn more about Computer Science in the Middle School.