By Kendall Patterson
Recently, the Chester County Junior High School received the Tennessee Valley Authority STEM Classroom Grant.
TVA, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, a TVA retiree organization, awarded $800,000 in grants to educators in public schools to develop science, technology, engineering and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley.
With more than 600 applications including submissions of projects to further STEM education initiatives, CCJHS was one school to be awarded $5,000 toward the school’s robotics classes.
Dr. Colette Carrabba is the key person in making this robotics program a reality this year. She is a member of the 2019-2020 TN STEM Collaborative and Robotics is her project for this year. She, along with fellow CCJHS science teacher, Lindley Carpenter, will be conducting the robotics classes each month.
“We are absolutely thrilled to have received this TVA STEM grant as it will enable our robotics classes to grow,” said Carrabba.
She said “the plan is to have classes begin in January and continue until the end of this school year.”
“Robotics classes at CCJHS will begin with basic information about how to ‘code’ an activity, which is really just making a list of individual steps or actions that need to be completed to accomplish a task,” explained. “Students will first complete ‘unplugged’ activities which are done without using the computer or the robots. Then students will learn how to transfer this skill to ‘coding’ using the VEX IQ coding software program. This program uses a series of ‘blocks’ which are coded to perform certain actions. Students will use these blocks to create a program to have the robot complete a task.”
While doing robotics, the students’ minds are put to work as they develop multiple skill sets in the midst of it all.
“The students will be using critical thinking and problem solving skills. They will also learn the importance of paying attention to details,” she said. “These skills are beneficial to our students as they progress through school and into their future careers.”
The grant will provide CCJHS with additional resources to store and transport our VEX robots.
In addition to the TVA STEM Classroom grant, another grant was awarded from Tennessee Valley Robotics which enabled the school to purchase two class sets of VEX robots to use in lessons.
Then another grant from REC Robotics allowed them to get two competition robots Carrabba said.
The goal for the robotics classes is to get robotics teams together to begin competing.
“This will most likely occur just within CCJHS this year,” Carrabba said.