Three elementary schools receive robotics grant

By Renee Larr

Three elementary schools in Westfield have received a robotics grant worth $500. Monon Trail Elementary, Oak Trace Elementary and Washington Woods elementary schools all applied for and received the grant from TechPoint Foundation for Youth. The schools will receive all the parts to build a working robot.

A robot built by Washington Woods Elementary School teacher Sandy Nerney. (Submitted image)

“We received about $500 worth of robotics equipment. It’s enough for us to build one robot and compete with that robot,” said Sandy Nerney, a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) teacher at WWES. “They sent us all the materials needed to build it so we can enter it in competitions and compete. When you build it, you can attach all these different sensors and you can code it so you can get it to do exactly what you want it to do.”

The instructors have to build the robot prior to the students building it to see what problems they might have.

“I’d say I’m about three-fourths of the way finished with building it. It’s drivable,” Nerney said.

Students then use the robot to compete in various contests across the state and in their own classrooms.

“I know I’ll enter at least two (contests), but we can enter as many as we want. We can choose which ones we go to, and in the future we’d like to host one but we need to go to one first,” Nerney said.

All the elementary schools in Westfield have applied for or have already received the grant.

“They are still offering the grant to elementary schools for this upcoming school year. If anyone is interested, they can still apply this summer,” she said.

The grant is not renewable but the classes can use the robot to enter as many contests as they want each year and continue to use the equipment.

For more, visit techpointyouth.org.