The School Newspaper of Timberview High School

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New Grant Provides Robotic Opportunities for Students

Skyla Westphal

Paulina Zuleta, Staff Writer

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After receiving a shared grant from the Mansfield Education Foundation to fund “STEAMing Across the District,” Librarian Jennifer Rike was the first to have the robot construction “Cubelets” for students.

“I would love to be able to explore with the little robots but we (didn’t) need a set all year so I went in on the grant,” Rike said. “(Students) are able to explore, use their brain and (be) hands on.”

The robots are designed to help encourage thinking strategies and to teach lessons through complex systems.

“It was the coolest thing ever,” junior Erin Vereen said. “But I will admit at first, I was a little confused on how to make them work.”

Instead of programming a robot’s behavior, students can snap the Cubelets together.

“I like playing with them because there are so many different combinations you can try,” Vereen said. “They are very entertaining.”

Every school in the district gets one week with the robots, which belong to all MISD libraries.

“There pretty cool but really simple,” junior Aaron Hennessy said.

Cubelets were set out after school and during lunch.

“Sadly the week that I had (the robots) we had classes (in the library),” Rike said. “(So the students) didn’t get to explore quite as much but it was really interesting to see students come up with different configurations.”

Hennessey said he enjoyed building.

“The first thing I made was a siren,” he said. “I put a motion sensor on top and added wheels so that it (could) spin around. It was also really cool watching other people and seeing what they could create.”

Rike said if students kept asking about Cubelets, she’d order them.

“I might consider buying some but budgets are tight so this allows everybody to explore them without incurring the expense.” she said.

After TCC completes their semester, two other additions will be added.

“I wanted to do it at a time where students could actually explore it,” Rike said. “Dot and Dash (a robot) is where students will get to control their device. Little Bits is where you put tiny pieces together and make stuff.”

Vereen said she can’t wait to work on the robots in May.

She said, “I feel excited because I will get a chance to play with them again.”

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The School Newspaper of Timberview High School
New Grant Provides Robotic Opportunities for Students