Lego Mindstorm Projects Focus of Ss. Robert & William Catholic School's S.T.E.M. Evening of Learning

New LEGO robots for teaching STEM technology

On Monday, March 24, 2014, from 6:30-8:00 p.m.,  Ss. Robert and William Catholic School will host the third in a series of “Evenings of Learning.”  This program will highlight the school’s S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Program and will take place throughout the school.

Earlier this year, and through a generous grant from the Helen and Michael Talty Trust and a donation by parishioners, The Cika Family, the school was able to purchase 24 Lego Mindstorm kits which have enhanced the school’s S.T.E.M. program.  Each kit contains 431 pieces which allows for great creativity.

Mr. Rich Smith, an enthusiastic S.T.E.M. teacher and leader of the program, tells of the advantages students have who are able to work on these innovative projects.  “Students not only have a lecture of the subject matter, the material is then reinforced by the teacher’s demonstration, and a question and answer session.  The students, then, put these skills to immediate use; they are able to take the theory and make it real.  Furthermore, the experience is tribal, as students work in pairs which enables them to learn from each other and share their knowledge.  This is reflected in the building of the robots,” he states.

He continues, “This approach allows the student to be at the center of building and programming of the robots.  Students must not only build something that works, they must teach the robots what to do through problem solving.”

Several of the students who are being mentored by Mr. Smith have been working diligently to bring the robots to life.  So far they have been programmed to ‘seek and find’, a process in which the robot must find and kick a color-coordinated object. Remarkably, the group has also assembled the various pieces to make a functioning guitar and a working forklift.

The middle school will be presenting "Invention Conventions."  Using their knowledge of the design method, students create a product that will enhance today's quality of life.  For example, one student created a window that works like transition glasses.  The window filters daylight and, therefore, darkens the room.  This would be beneficial for someone who may work the late shift  and needs privacy for sleeping during the day.  Mrs. Karol Pfeifer, middle school science teacher, states, "Through this process students are gaining knowledge and experience to become entrepreneurs and engineers.  They are developing real life skills that will make our world a better place and it boosts their confidence in knowing they can make a difference."  Another project that will be showcased by these students, and is included in the Veggie Curriculum, includes germinating seeds now that will be placed in the community garden in the spring. 

The lower school will be tying the familiarity of literature into S.T.E.M based learning. Using the story of the "Three Little Pigs" and "Where the Wild Things Are," students have created projects that have made connections to fictional characters, the world, the S.T.E.M. program and the 21st Century.

Ss. Robert & William School is located at 351 East 260th St., Euclid.  For additional information, please visit or call 216.731.3060.

Ellen Ivory

Director of Development & Discipleship, Ss. Robert & William Parish; Euclid Chamber of Commerce & Euclid Symphony Orchestra, Trustee

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Volume 5, Issue 2, Posted 6:07 PM, 03.14.2014