Robotics is a word that you might not hear often in the classroom. However that is all changing for Raleigh County students who are in the elementary and middle school level.
“Last year we started a robotics program at the high school, this year we are trying to get the younger grades involved. So that once the kids understand programming, the engineering process and how to work together in groups by the time they get to high school, they’ll be able to utilize all the facilities that the county and state have provided for us. We also have a brand new stem lab,” said Shady Spring High School robotics teacher Elizabeth Hegele.
On Tuesday, NASA specialists held a training session for elementary and middle school teachers from Daniels Elementary, Ghent Elementary, St. Francis and Shady Elementary and Middle school. During the training, teachers were taught on how their students can use the robotics program in the classroom. NASA specialists also trained teachers on how to be coaches for the upcoming optional robotic competitions that will be held in the Fall.
NASA Robotics Education Specialist Michael Lyden told us, “Students will work to build robots to complete the specific missions on a mat with Legos. They will also work on a research project using their teamwork skills and keeping track of the way their design process involves in an engineering notebook. They will then present all those things to be judged on.”
Hegele added, “We want our kids to understand that learning is fun, this is a fun venue for them. Before they realize it, their using all their math skills and communication skills. They have to learn to work in those teams, they have to learn to present their work and present it to others, as well as learn how to talk to adults.”
Hegele also mentioned that learning robotics at a young age is also preparing these students for college as well as the real world regardless of the profession they may enter.
Southern West Virginia Robotics Club donated roughly $10,000 in robots to be used in the classroom to four schools in Raleigh County.