East Central Indiana: Making Learning Robotic
Students learn STEM principles through robotics competition
As the economy continues to trend toward highly technical careers, educational leaders in East Central Indiana are equipping students with the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills needed to compete. One example: The region has invested in robotics education through the VEX robotics and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) robotics curriculum and competition platforms.
The Team Roboto robotics team in Madison County has won numerous awards and competitions in its 17 years. The team is made up of high school students who the group’s mentors hope will become future leaders in technology. The PhyXTGears team in Muncie has won more than a dozen awards, including Excellence in Design and Excellence in Engineering. The team ranks fourth in the state, and in 2017 was one of only 32 teams in the state competition.
Shenandoah Elementary School in Henry County was one of the region’s first elementary schools to launch a robotics team. Henry County high school students can explore engineering careers through the New Castle Career Center. Students enrolled in the engineering program can earn both high school and college credit at Ivy Tech Community College.
Marion Community Schools in Grant County has five elementary school robotics teams and two intermediate (fifth and sixth grades) level teams. Educators and business mentors agree the skills students learn through robotics competitions will give them an advantage when competing for advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs. In fact, the Jay County robotics team has as its mission to “prepare the future of the workforce while teaching students good core values and creating a well-rounded person, in cooperation with our community and the Jay County area businesses.”