BCSC receives grants for robotics initiatives

Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. will use a little over $30,000 in grants to incorporate robotics into its elementary school STEM labs.

The school corporation has been awarded $4,500 through the Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center’s (IN-MaC) Micro-Grant Program, said Davida Harden, BCSC curriculum specialist for STEM initiatives.

BCSC is also receiving classroom robotics supplies that total $27,500 through a VEX GO Classroom Robotics Grant from TechPoint Foundation For Youth’s Indiana State Robotics Initiative.

The goal of the initiative is to provide hands-on STEM learning opportunities to all Indiana students through “an economical, entry-level robotics platform.”

Harden said that each of BCSC’s elementary STEM labs was awarded a VEX GO Classroom Robotics Bundle, and TechPoint will also provide training and ongoing support to teachers. Each bundle includes multiple robots, VEX GO robotics kits, charging supplies and other various parts.

The robotics bundles will be implemented with 3rd through 6th grade.

The grant funds from IN-MaC will be used to purchase “Botley the Coding Robot” activity sets for kindergarten through second grade students. The micro-grant program is focused on growing youth and adult manufacturing initiatives in Indiana and provides funding to organizations that “implement creative ways to enhance youth and adult experiences in industry.”

Harden said that both grant initiatives will be implemented as part of elementary school STEM labs. The district is converting these labs into a “specials” rotation, similar to art or physical education, with certified teachers.

“Early and equal accessibility for all students, hands-on, real-world learning opportunities, obtainability of in-demand transportable skills, and the implementation pathway through the STEM Labs were the core reasons why the B4C4 Manufacturing Pathway Initiative was conceptualized,” she said. “Through the implementation of the initiative, students will be introduced to Manufacturing career pathways as early as Kindergarten.”