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Robotics Club hosts workshop for teachers, 4-H leaders

ISSUED: 24 October 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Seven teachers and 4-H leaders from Berkeley and Jefferson counties picked up robotics kits and took a workshop run by the Shepherd University Robotics Club on Wednesday, October 22. The club gave the Lego Mindstorms NXT kits to the teachers and 4-H leaders so their students could learn robotics and participate in ShepRobo Fest next spring.

Christine Sherman, a third grade teacher at Mountain Ridge Intermediate School, said her students are looking forward to building robots with the kits.

“They are thrilled; they are beyond excited,” Sherman said. “I’ve been working for a year writing grants trying to find the money to do the project so this is really exciting for me and for them.”

Jessie Butcher advises the robotics club at Hedgesville Middle School, which currently has one Lego robot kit. She said the club is popular and its members are looking forward to getting a second kit.

“I would like to expand my club to include more students and I need another robot,” Butcher said. “The more students I can involve the happier they’ll be.”

Sarah Carley-Peña, a science teacher at Morgan Academy in Shepherdstown, said her students are also excited about using the kits to learn about robotics.

“I’m here so that we can help engage the kids in science to try to get them involved in some hands-on, fun projects so that hopefully they’ll continue in their science,” Carley-Peña said.

This is the first year the 4-H STEM program in Berkeley County is participating in First Lego League, which has clubs all over the world for students in grades 4-8.

“So this is our introduction of how everything works,” said Charles Engle, Berkeley County 4-H STEM program leader. “I don’t think the math and science aspect of 4-H is emphasized enough. It’s usually outdoor activities, but this is important to get these kids involved in.”

Jean Hollcroft teaches sixth grade English at Charles Town Middle School, and she plans to use the kit to infuse her lessons with some science and math by requiring students to write about those topics.

“They’re all very STEM oriented and this is something that they’re really excited about,” Hollcroft said. “I’m trying to help them realize they have to read things and write things and then put things together.”

Matt Cole, a substitute gifted reading and math teacher at Martinsburg South Middle School and retired engineer, is also excited to have his students work with the kit.

“I love science and engineering and I want to get my students into something they can really have fun with,” he said.

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