LAKE VILLAGE — Ten enthusiastic Lake Village Elementary students met and got to work on their robot Sept. 11 as part of the school’s first robotics team — the Tiger Bots.
The robot and all the materials needed for the club came from a TechPoint Foundation for Youth grant as part of the State Robotics Initiative (SRI).
“I’m a big nerd and I loved playing video games and with all the new tech stuff,” laughed Lake Village Elementary Principal Kristen Hankins. “This is an area where the kids should be learning because technology is not going anywhere. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) is a huge priority for us, and I saw this grant opportunity as a great way to get our kids engaged. I had a feeling it would be popular.”
The grant not only paid for the robot and its materials, but it also paid for staff training to be able to lead the club and prepare the robotics team for any future competitions.
Alisa Hines, 5th-grade teacher, and Shelene Askren, Title I aide, are serving as coaches for the Tiger Bots.
With just one robot and limited supplies, Lake Village Elementary filled the 10-position team by teacher invitation. Accepting the invitation were Kay Schlueter, Skip Saylor, Ben Levy, Ian Johnston, Johnny Johnston, Owen Battleday, Uri Holloway, Andrijana Barron, Tiffany Walsh, and Blake Stevens.
“The 5th and 6th-grade teachers were asked to invite students who they thought could think creatively and were not involved in a lot of other extracurriculars,” added Hankins. “Kids are naturally creative and this first meeting of the club was to get them familiar with the robot and to get the creative thinking flowing. Another big positive about this club is the students being able to work together on a common goal. Our goal is to get to the point as a club and team to take part in some competitions, which are mostly in the spring.”
The first meeting of the Lake Village Robotics Club took place after school on Sept. 11. At the meeting, the students got a chance to operate the robot, which they descriptively named Scooter.
“I like working with my hands and I am used to working with Legos so I thought this club would be fun,” said Andrijana Barron. “If I am going to learn about something I want to be hands-on.”
The objective of the State Robotics Initiative (SRI) is to provide a hands-on, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunity to every Indiana student through an economical, entry-level robotics platform.
TechPoint Foundation for Youth (TPF4Y) is now moving into its fourth year of offering a robotics start-up grant, which provides everything needed to start a successful robotics program.
“This was just the first day, but it is a lot of fun so far,” said Tiffany Walsh. “My family farms so I am used to making things. I am excited to find out what else we can make with the robot.”
The club will meet on average twice a month throughout the school year.