STEM Program Gets Boost from Dart Foundation Grant

Pequea Valley School District  |  Posted on

Mitchell Swords (2nd from right) and Paradise Principal, Beth Reinhart (Left) standing with Representatives from DART Foundation. DART Awards $18,235 to fund LEGO Robotics kits for Elementary STEM Program. standards with engineering and coding activities to solve problems, do experiments, or share what they learned.

Pequea Valley Elementary learners will soon have access to new robotics software and technology for their STEM Class this fall. Mitchell Swords, STEM Facilitator at Pequea Valley’s two elementary schools, Paradise and Salisbury, won an $18,000 grant from DART Foundation to purchase new LEGO 2.0 robotics kits for grades K-6. STEM projects that utilize the LEGO WeDo 2.0 kits will integrate science, technology, engineering, and math.

Students up to 6th grade in Pequea Valley’s STEM class aren’t doing worksheets, but are coding robots to interact with their environment as tools they use to learn. “We are constantly looking for authentic learning experiences for our learners at Pequea Valley,” Superintendent Erik Orndorff added. “The robotics kits donated by DART give us just that- Real world learning that is relevant for 21st Century Learning.” These relevant learning experiences may range from designing prototypes of an invention for their classroom to creating a tool for a lab experiment on balance designs.

LEGO kits are a wonderful addition to the STEM Curriculum. By designing with LEGO kits and components, students exercise their creative and inventive muscles, learn how things move, and discover how sensors are used in everyday tools at home and at work. Mitchell hopes to begin implementing the curriculum in the fall and plans to display learner created designs and projects at their second annual STEM Arts and Design night in May. Projects will show student projects, creative designs, and unique robots that solve problems at school and in the home. “Imagination and creativity are in our nature. When children are designing,” Mitchell added, “they put aside that they’re learning and applying what they know and begin to create, collaborate with their partners, troubleshoot their projects, and play with their creations.” With the new updated Kits, it should be an exciting year for Pequea Valley!