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HANDS-ON LEARNING LEADS STUDENTS AT CONCORD SCHOOL TO STATE ROBOTICS TITLE

Parisi is no expert in robotics. He doesn't have an engineering background, either. But his excitement for teaching both topics has shot through his students like an electric current. He has generated so much enthusiasm that, in five short months, the club achieved something unexpected: In February the students won the state title in the Technology Student Association's Vex Robotics Competition in Greensboro, beating 48 teams. That victory earned them a shot at the national championship in Orlando, Fla., in June.In the past few years, the nation's top education policymakers have pushed for curriculum that teaches students stronger science, technology, engineering and math skills.It's a response to industrial leaders who have reported a shortage of qualified American workers in the growing fields that require those skills.As with any change, though, the path hasn't been quick or easy. Getting students excited about the subjects begins with getting teachers excited. For both, that means abandoning the "read the textbook and answer the questions at the end of each chapter" approach for a more hands-on one.For some, giving up the security of a textbook, especially when teaching new material, can be as unnerving as giving up a security blanket can be for a child.

But in Cabarrus County, Parisi and other teachers like him have done just that.

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Concord Tribune