Grant for robotics program helps kids learn engineering, coding

By Lydia Goerner | Sep 15, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Boys & Girls Club member Davonte Perreira, 10, works on his homework. Perreira was a spokesperson for the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association grant and will participate in the robotics club.

This fall, members of the Boys & Girls Club of Wareham can watch their creations drive, shoot, slither, walk or spin with the new after school LEGO Robotics Club.

The Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association donated $6,500 to the Boys & Girls Club to fully supply the equipment for the robotics program.

The LEGO Robotics Club will teach kids about the coding and engineering needed to make robots. With the grant money, the Boys & Girls Club purchased eight LEGO Mindstorm kits intended for fourth through sixth grade kids, which provide the materials needed to make any of 17 robots.

The club also purchased four LEGO Boost kits, geared to kids in second and third grade, and eight new Chromebooks for coding. The kids will be graded on what they create in the robotics program, which will be held twice a week starting Sept. 15.

Ken Fontes, director of the Boys & Girls Club of Wareham, said the club members had been asking about starting a robotics program. The program will help them develop hands-on skills and give them the satisfaction of seeing a job through from start to finish, Fontes said. It also helps some kids realize they want to go into engineering as a career.

“Robotics is where everybody’s going toward,” said Sally Paduch, academic supervisor for the Boys & Girls Club. She said it fits into STEM programs at school.

“It really helps kids understand how things work,” Paduch said. She is especially looking forward to offering the robotics program as the weather gets cold, so kids still have something to look forward to even though they'll have to stay inside.

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