When you walk into The Garage at Eagle Crest Elementary School, you will see excited, cheerful students together as they learn the ins and outs of robotics. Students learn new math skills, computer science, and even gain engineering and technology expertise.
This school year, all 72 fifth grade students have found unity working together in collaborative teams by taking part in the Robotics program. This remarkable show of inclusion highlights how students are bonding in their return to the classroom, and how they are advancing in academic excellence.
Students that participate in the program have varying degrees of experience, and the goal for all students is to build confidence by trying new activities. Teachers emphasize process over product and community over competition, preparing them to become future leaders.
With the support of their Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), Eagle Crest Elementary was able to provide enough VEX Robotics Kits for the entire fifth grade class. “We transformed our unused portable classrooms into our new robotics lab – this allows students to have a lot more exposure to robots in our innovation space we call The Garage” said Katy Schwirtz, STEM Teacher, Eagle Crest.
Students have acquired a knowledge of the basic coding and driving of robots, and have also participated in many design challenges before entering fifth grade. “These experiences, combined with a lot of intentional work around our leadership pillars, Communicate, Create, and Inspire, has led us to implement VEX Robotics to all fifth graders,” shared Katy Schwirtz.
Students are currently building a VEX IQ Clawbot, and once they finish, they have the choice of moving onto something else like building games for their competition or continue to innovate the Clawbot so it completes more tasks more efficiently.
“Our main goal is to give all Eagle Crest fifth graders an opportunity to work through these specialized, collaborative efforts in hopes that they may pursue more robotics in middle school and beyond,” shared Katy Schwirtz.