After dedicating five weeks of hard work in the Arts & Bots after school program, the 5th and 6th graders of Hartman Intermediate finally showcased their dinosaur-robotic creations to the 3rd and 4th graders at Perry Elementary School during the Jurassic Library event Friday morning.
Mr. Marsh, the elementary art teacher, Mr. Setzenfand, the Wolverine Workshop instructor and Mr. Skoczylas, elementary computer teacher, were in charge of the club and event.
As part of the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) program Ellwood City Area schools have been pursuing, 18 students from Hartman Intermediate were chosen to partake in learning robotic programming and designing using CMU-developed Hummingbird Robotic Kits.
“The Hummingbird Robotics Kit is a spin-off product of Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE lab. Hummingbird is designed to enable engineering and robotics activities for ages 13 and up (8 with adult supervision) that involve the making of robots, kinetic sculptures, and animatronics built out of a combination of kit parts and crafting materials,” their official site states.
The students are taught how to wire the contents of a Hummingbird Kit, and to correspond it to a basic programming software so they can create a robot out of household materials that connects to the kit hardware while the programming software controls the robots actions.
Each project was made to accurately resemble the students chosen dinosaur, which was to consist of moving parts, eyes that lit up and changed colors, and sounds – all of which were controlled and programmed by the students.
“The program encourages student attendance. They love participating in the program, they always look forward to coming to class, and they especially enjoy presenting their creations. It’s a bonus that they learn sequencing and creativity from the projects – they literally build their robots out of scratch and then watch them come to life after hitting play,” Mr. Skoczylas stated.
Jurassic Library is the second project the 18 students, each paired with another for a total of 9 robots, participated in for the school year. Their first project was a “robotic petting zoo,” held at North Side Primary in January.
In an effort to combine science, engineering, and art through the programs, Joe Mancini, the District Superintendent said the STEAM and STEM programs are teaching students crucial skills that will benefit them for life.
“The programs are an unbelievable opportunity for our students to learn science and math. The students, ranging from high school age to even third grade and lower, are learning the four C’s – critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity – these are skills employers will be looking for.”
The STEAM program shows no signs of slowing down, Lincoln High School recently received a $25,000 donation for their STEAM program from WesBanco.
Photos from Cassandra Douglas/EllwoodCity.org