Several years ago, the Custer Baker Intermediate School’s after-school Robotics Club was thriving. The teacher who started it brought in his own equipment and continued as a volunteer even after retirement. The Education Foundation made a grant to supplement his equipment a few years ago and 5th and 6th grade students competed against teams from schools at higher levels.
Then, the volunteer coach retired and unfortunately, had to take his equipment with him. That didn’t leave much for the students to use.
Thanks to a grant the Education Foundation received from the Branigin Foundation, CBIS was able to purchase the equipment they needed to get back up and running in the spring of 2015. Eight CBIS students were chosen to participate, from 50 who applied. They didn’t compete in tournaments, but are working hard to prepare for next year. Twenty-four students will participate next year.
Students love the Robotics Club for a variety of reasons. Some of their comments:
- Robotics are cool
- Thanks for the opportunity to try something new and learn how to make these machines and how they perform
- I like getting to meet new people and creating something with them
- It’s fun to build robots and watching them work
- It makes school a lot more fun – even when I have a bad day, I come in here and have fun
- I like to be able to try something new and create
Students learn problem solving skills in a team environment and also learn patience when things don’t go well. A member of one team of students who had to re-do their robot “tons of times” said, “This (four wheel robot) started out as a motorcycle.”
The Branigin Foundation grant also purchased equipment for Franklin Community Middle School to implement a Robotics Club in 2015-16. More than 60 students applied for Custer Baker’s 2015-16 club and more than 30 applied for the middle school’s first year club!