Schuylkill Valley Middle School Boosts Robotics Program
Schuylkill Valley Middle School students are getting even more STEM experience with the introduction of a new curriculum in robotics. The program was funded by a $20,000 grant from Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. (Ashley) — the largest manufacturer of home furnishings in the world with an upholstery manufacturing facility neighboring the school in Leesport, PA.
According to an Ashley press release, the district purchased VEX Robotics equipment that allows students to easily build their first robot and with endless possibilities of customization, the platform encourages students to build a robot that is bigger, stronger, and more functional as they continue to learn. VEX also provides curriculum options for educators to integrate lesson plans into the classroom and easily customize projects to meet the level of students’ abilities.
VEX Robotics equipment can also be utilized for extracurricular competition programs where students are tasked with designing and building a robot to play with other teams in a game-based engineering challenge. Schuylkill Valley School District offers competition clubs at both the middle school and high school level. With this donation, the middle school competition program also purchased additional equipment to expand its capacity which will strengthen student interest for the high school program.
“We are fortunate to have industry support from Ashley Furniture to showcase to our students the value of learning these skills,” said Michael Billman, Schuylkill Valley School District director of instructional and information technology, in the press release. “Beyond science and engineering principles, robotics teaches students creativity, teamwork, leadership, and problem-solving skills – all highly valued skills by employers once students leave our hands.”