Grant to provide robots for Holy Trinity

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — When students return to Holy Trinity Catholic School’s Central Campus this fall, robots will be there to greet them.

The first and second grade teachers received a $1,275 grant from the Evansville Rotary Club and the Love Foundation to purchase three Dash and Dot robots for use in the school’s after school STEM Club.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

“We’ve got a lot of science and math, and we do a lot of engineering in the club,” said second grade teacher Andrea Hurm, who wrote the grant. “But we wanted to get more technology in there.”

Hurm chose the Dash and Dot robotics after attending several STEM education conferences where other educators shared success stories with the robots. She also saw the robots in action during a field trip her students took to the Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division that featured activities to introduce the students to STEM.

The Dash and Dot robotics will add to the school’s existing collection of robots. The school already has Sphero robots — which are ball-shaped and programmed to drive themselves — and MakeyMakey machine kits, but the Dash and Dot robots take it a step further. They come with attachments like a bulldozer, catapult and xylophone that allow students to program them to perform all kinds of tasks. You can even put numbers on the floor and program them to perform addition and subtraction.

The plan is to use them during the after-school STEM club that the teachers host two to four times per year. The club, which does require a participation fee, is popular among the students. Rather than add the cost of the robots to the STEM club fee, though, the teachers decided to apply for grants. The parents are already supportive of the school, Hurm said, and the robots are expensive.

Outside of STEM Club, Hurm said the goal is to use the robots in a project with the second grade class where they program the Dash and Dot robots, Spheros and MakeyMakey machines and then hold a STEM fair to demonstrate the tech for the preschool, kindergarten and first grade students. The robots can also be transported to East Campus for the students there.

Hurm said the Dash and Dot robots are geared toward elementary-age students and could serve as a springboard to get students interested in the robotics club that becomes available in fifth grade.

“We’re excited to get these in the hands of the kids,” Hurm said.




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