CANFIELD — CH Campbell and Hilltop elementary schools each have been awarded $5,000 to expand science, technology, engineering and math programs.
The funds will be used to purchase Spike Prime robots. These are LEGO building kits for assembling and program robots.
The money comes through the Ohio Stem Learning Network Classroom Grant Program, funded by Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus. In total, 163 public schools in 60 Ohio counties received the award.
“Every Ohio community should have access to the kind of quality STEM education that drives opportunity for families and job growth in our state.” said Kelly Gaier Evans, director of the Ohio STEM Learning Network.
“This program creates champions of STEM in local communities and, through them, fosters new opportunities for students,” she added.
The Spike Prime kits “cost close to $385 per set,” said CH Campbell Principal Travis Lavery.
Each kit contains a variety of LEGO parts, motors and sensors. Students can learn technology while being creative in design. The finished robots can then perform according to what they were designed for.
“We had to apply for the grant through Battelle,” said Patti Hockensmith, STEM teacher at CH Campbell Elementary School. Battelle Memorial Institute is a private nonprofit applied science and technology development company.
She said Battelle helps support STEM education through grants designed to inspire students to pursue the technology of the future.
“This will help with the 4 Cs: Critical thinking, communications, cooperation, and creativity,” she said.
Students already are getting a lot of exposure to STEM through a variety of technical devices at the school. Hockensmith’s class has two types of robots. One is programmed through a control panel on the robot, and the other uses an iPad to send code and control the robot.
The students are also exposed to a 3D printer that can make practically anything a student can design. The new Spike Prime robot kits will help students continue to learn about coding.
“Ten to 15 years from now, coding will be a big part of their world,” Hockensmith said.
Lavery said when the school first started funding a STEM class at CH Campbell, it was funded by a combination of PTA funds, grants, community donations and general fund dollars. Grants like those from Battelle help to take the STEM program to the next level.
Hockensmith said she also was able to start an after-school STEM club—and had to have two separate groups. One was for K-2 and the second for grades 3 and 4. Both clubs had 40 members, showing a real desire for STEM.
This month, students in the STEM classes are making Christmas ornaments that are printed on a 3D printer. They are also designating a Rudolph reindeer with a flashing red nose, made from a paper roll and pipe cleaners. The finished reindeer is attached to an angled string and calculations are made to get it to “fly” down the string at the fastest speed.
The students are also working with conductive tape to design a bag that lights up. Each project helps teach an aspect of STEM that can later be applied to other projects.