As a K-12 STEM-Certified district, the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC) has continually implemented science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into the schools’ curriculum. The MVCSC teachers find creative ways to engage the students by teaching various lessons and hands-on activities to incorporate STEM in the classroom.
One of many opportunities for students to gain more technical experience is the Robotics Clubs that are offered. At the elementary and middle school levels, students have the opportunity to participate in a Robotics Club before entering high school where they have the ability to take more advanced engineering and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses.
At the elementary level, students are tasked with building and coding a robot that will have the ability to play a VEX IQ board game. According to the STEM teachers/Robotics Club Advisors at the three elementaries, this helps the students learn how to strategize on the best way to use the time on the game board and work as a team.
Kathy Tingwald, a PLTW certified STEM teacher at Fortville Elementary, stated, “We use problem solving and reasoning to make the parts work together, strategies to score the most points, and teamwork to show what we are able to do. These are 21st century skills that are going to be used in many different possible jobs the kids may opt to do.”
At Mt. Vernon Middle School, the Tech Club and the Robotics Club merged to create what is now called, Robo-Tech Club. MVMS has 21 students in the Robo-Tech Club, resulting in five total teams. The students are tasked with designing and building robots to participate in this year's VEX Robotics "Squared Away" competition.
Ms. Schoenlein, one of the Robo-Tech Club advisors, stated, “Mr. Douglass and I have a club goal for the students to learn about building and problem solving. We want the kids to have a fun hands-on experience without the constraints that you have when building a specific robot or project in the robotics class or his tech-ed class.”
She also explained the importance of students learning through exploration which, in turn, will increase their motivation and desire to succeed.
Students are being prepared to navigate in a society where technology is constantly advancing and evolving, while also learning basic soft skills that will benefit them in any class, career, etc. MVCSC will continue to implement STEM-based learning and provide a fun and imaginative learning environment for students.