Boeing Grant Funds Robot Exhibition
The Space Foundation Discovery Institute hosted a unique robot exhibition this past Saturday when teachers and students from 12 schools along the Colorado Front Range participated in a robotics club seed program sponsored through a grant from The Boeing Company.
Several months ago, 12 teachers were selected by the Space Foundation to participate in the grant. The teachers attended two Saturday training events to learn how to build and program the Lego MindStorm NXT robots. Their mission after those trainings was to start a robotics club at their respective schools with two free NXT kits given to each school through the Boeing grant. The purpose of the clubs is to find new ways to excite students about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and to encourage students to get involved in robotics clubs as they enter middle and high school.
At the exhibition, students showed off what they learned from their coaches during the robotics club meetings. The students were also able to operate the NXT and Vex robots in the Space Foundation's newly opened Mars Yard, housed at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute in Colorado Springs. The Mars Yard is a simulated Martian terrain that allows students to run robotic Mars missions, such as collecting rock samples and looking for water under the Martian surface.
"This entire project, from the first training sessions to the exhibition, has been an incredible opportunity for both the teachers and students," said Bryan DeBates, director-education for the Space Foundation. "We are thankful to Boeing for the contribution that allowed us to conduct this project. We believe this program has made a significant difference for these students, and that they will continue their enthusiasm for robotics for years to come. Who knows, one of these students may one day be the drivers for the next generation of robots to explore Mars."
Pictured: Students at the Boeing robot exhibition at the Space Foundation Discovery Institute Mars Yard