The local school system will be receiving over $15,000.
Baltimore, Md. (KM). The Maryland State Department of Education has awarded $250,000 in grants under the state’s robotics program, and more than $15,000 of that amount is coming to Frederick County.
MSDE spokesman Bill Reinhard says the program was approved by the 2016 General Assembly. “They provided $250,000 for this school year to be granted to local systems that are doing work in robotics, and we thought it was terrific idea,” he says. “The grants were awarded this week.”
Frederick County school system officials say Urbana Middle School will be receiving $3,500 to support its Junior Robotics Program, an after school club sponsored by an Urbana Middle School teacher. Students in the club will design and program a robot which will compete in the Johns Hopkins University Robo Challenge. The money will go toward purchasing a laptop computer to be used by the club, Legos Mindstorm kits, Arduino software, Arduino Rover kits and Boe-Bot Robot kits, according to a school system spokesman.
Governor Thomas Johnson High will received $11,521 to support its First Robotics Team, which functions as an after school cub, and computer science classes at school, officials say. The funds will be used to buy enhanced desktop computers capable of running Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software, and cover the costs of the First Robotics team registration, a school system spokesman says.
Reinhard says this program is one way to encourage interested students to pursue careers in robotics. “Robotics are used in manufacturing today. They’re used in lot of research in bio-medical research which Maryland has a lot of interest in,” he says.
Along with that, Reinhard says this robotics program is another way to spark interest in students who find science dull because they’ve only experienced it in textbooks. “Learning by doing, experiential learning, is always a great way for students to learn,” he says.
He also says this program approved last year is a way to support STEM-related education in Maryland schools. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Mathematics and Science.
This year, 18 school districts, schools and non-profit partnerships received these grants totaling $250,000.
In order for the robotics program to continue next year, the General Assembly will need to appropriate additional funds to keep it going.
By Kevin McManus