Saint Benedict Academy Receives $500 Robotics Grant

Saint Benedict Academy is proud to announce that the school is the recipient of a $500 pre-college grant from the New Hampshire Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The school received the grant for Mr. McLaughlin’s proposal entitled “Integrating Robotics into the Elementary School Experience at Saint Benedict Academy.”

The grant will fund the integration of the new line of VexIQ Robotics into the elementary school experience for the 69 students in grades 3 to 6 in the spring semester of the 2013-2014 academic year. The school will provide additional funding to realize the full implementation of this project by drawing from funds raised through our successful “Give With Target” campaign this summer. The program will enhance the current science and math curricula by providing hands-on learning tools for students to think critically as they put the principles learned in these subjects into action.

Students in the intermediate grades currently learn about science and mathematical concepts from their textbooks and relevant hands-on activities in their classrooms. A Robotics program integrated into the existing classroom curriculum will create additional, practical opportunities for students to apply the concepts that they learn in mathematics and science as they think critically to design and program robotic elements to complete specific tasks.

Through the school’s financial and personnel contributions, the Robotics program will be extended as a co-curricular enrichment opportunity for students to delve deeper into the programmatic and mechanical elements of robotic engineering. Students in this enrichment component will be able to participate in Robotics competitions with other elementary schools in Manchester and the surrounding communities. Such experience will further enhance student understanding of Robotic elements and encourage them to think even more critically about the design and execution of their programming and engineering as they encounter new challenges in competition and ideas from other teams.

Mr. McLaughlin sought out the grant after meeting with the newly-elected Student Council this summer. Student Body President Austin Best and his colleagues asked Mr. McLaughlin to investigate beginning a Robotics Program at the school because of their and other students’ interest in the subject and because many of the junior high schools and high schools in the area have Robotics programs. The students reasoned that early exposure would better enable them to participate at higher levels of Robotics programming down the road.

On Thursday, November 14, Mr. McLaughlin received the grant money from the IEEE at a reception held at the Black Forest Cafe in Amherst, NH. Mr. McLaughlin will work with the Student Council over the coming days to order the new VEX IQ Robotics materials so that the program can begin to be implemented in January.

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