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RTF Shares Thanks: Colby the Mouse in Mississippi!

One of the many innovative ways to teach STEM now-a-days is through the use of programmable robots and we’re huge fans here at RTF.  We find it especially exciting to be able to contribute to the use of robots in STEM curriculums throughout rural America.  Enter Mrs. Salina who teaches a STEM lab for pre-k through 2nd grade in Mississippi.  Her lab had historically focused more on traditional science experiments, but Mrs. Salina had the wonderful idea of incorporating a Code & Go Robot Mouse (named Colby) and Ozobots into her curriculum.  Not only are they super valuable educational tools, but also lots of fun!

Mrs. Salina devised that her students would enjoy beginning to learn to code with Colby the robotic mouse, before moving to their Ozobots and more complex tasks.  With this technology, students are learning how to work in groups and collaborate on problem solving skills that are so important for STEM success.  This includes providing directions, cause & effect analysis, critical thinking and programming/coding.  The students are always excited for each class where they get to make, code and explore new technology.  The STEM lab has become even more popular than before!

Mrs. Salina describes the energy and powerful lessons that her students are learning in her letter to us:

My students were so excited when they saw the boxes of code and go and our Ozobot come in. They have asked and asked when we would be able to start learning about robots. This new technology has been thrilling to them and when they find out it’s robot day they holler in excitement! The students have been brainstorming new robot ideas and are so excited to learn.

Also, these robots are helping them to synergize or work in groups together. They have to choose their maze, build it, and code the robot as a team, so not only are they learning how to problem solve with the maze but how to problem solve as a group. I saw this take place yesterday with a group when a student said, “We ran short on time, so you go first next time with coding”. It was a proud moment for me as a teacher.

Many of my students do not have the technology at home to learn about robotics. We live in an area of high STEM employment, which makes this is so important. These robots are helping me to encourage students to learn technology for their future. They are really starting to brainstorm new ideas and new ways robots can be used. We are so grateful for these robots and all the fun, excitement, and learning they have brought to our lab. We greatly appreciate the gift of learning that you provided.

With gratitude,
Mrs. Salina

566 of Mrs. Salina’s students will get to use both Colby and the Ozobots during their STEM labs each week.  They’re especially big fans of the hands on learning and concrete problems they solve together.  Vicksburg has a large and growing tech sector and Mrs. Salina wants to ensure that her students are able to take part in this growing industry.  Both Colby and the Ozobots provide great steps in that journey and will help lay an early foundation for future success.  Specifically, this training will help students become systems architects, software engineers and scientific researchers.  We’re so happy we were able to help build these dreams.

The students themselves have shared with us wonderful cards displaying their excitement.

Ariell Loving to Learn

Tho Loving the Robots

Quintera Having Fun Learning to Code

McKynlee Learning About Colby the mouse

We couldn’t be more excited to have helped make an impact on the community of Vicksburg, MS and its students! Please continue to stay tuned at our blog, twitter and facebook pages for other editions of #RTFSharesThanks!

We’re trying to bridge the digital divide between urban and rural communities by helping introduce students to technology jobs and end generational poverty. Interested in making an impact in your community? E-mail us or consider donating to our general fund or contributing to our patreon.