Grants awarded to Akron and Mentone elementary schools for robotic activities

AKRON — The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation has been awarded two grants to help with Project Lead The Way activities and robotics teams throughout its two elementary schools.

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the country. Specialized curriculum lets students resolve real-world challenges in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science fields.

“It changes their entire way of thinking. It’s all hands-on critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration from kindergarten all the way through fifth grade,” said instructor Mirannda Figert, who splits her time between Akron and Mentone elementary schools teaching PLTW curriculum.

The district has been awarded $1,095 from the Kosciusko REMC Operation RoundUp Fund to purchase three additional VEX Robotic kits. The kits are made up of modular robotic parts that allow students to design and create several different types of robots.

The additional kits will allow for a smaller kit-per-student ratio. Students have had to double up in their groups because there were only 11 kits for third through fifth grades. PLTW recommends a one-to-four ratio.

Every student at Akron and Mentone elementary schools will experience PLTW. Different grade levels learn and experience different things such as app coding, engineering and computer science modules, to simple and compound machines.

The district also received $250 from Zimmer-Biomet for the robotics team at Akron Elementary. The money will go towards any registration expenses for the team and to purchase a game field students can practice with before they go to tournaments.

The Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation was previously awarded grant money to fund PLTW curriculum across its two elementary schools for one year.