JONESBORO — Students at six middle schools across Clayton County soon will be competing in the First Lego League with support from Verizon.
The district has been awarded a $20,000 Verizon Innovate Learning Grant.
Officials said the schools represented in the application are included in a list of 80 public schools across the country to receive a grant this year as part of Verizon’s investment to support public education. The grant will provide teachers with the resources they need to use technology more innovatively and effectively to engage students in science, technology, engineering and math.
The Verizon grant will be used to fund the Clayton County Robotics After School Program at Rex Mill, Lovejoy, Kendrick, North Clayton, M.D. Roberts and Jonesboro middle schools. Officials said the robotics program is designed to get children excited about science and technology — and to teach them valuable employment and life skills.
“Teams, composed of up to 10 children with at least one adult coach, will compete in robo-combat,’ said Tonya Clarke, the district’s coordinator for K-12 mathematics. “The primary work for the students will be programming an autonomous robot (using the Lego Mindstorms robot set) to score points on a thematic playing surface while creating an innovative solution to a social problem.”
Clarke said that while completing their project, students must be guided by the team’s Core Values of teamwork, problem solving through research, collaboration, honor in competition, discovery and professionalism.
It will involve students in the Clayton State University math department introductory course as well as professors from Clayton State, the Georgia Institute of Technology and Morehouse College.
“We created this program to support the integration of innovative STEM initiatives in schools across the country, and we are pleased to recognize the 80 schools that have been chosen to receive the award,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, education program director for the Verizon Foundation. “The proposal submitted by Clayton County Public Schools, exemplifies the type of initiatives that will provide exposure to students around STEM fields, and also offers students hands-on project-based learning opportunities that will help increase their interest and achievement in STEM.”
The Verizon Innovate Learning Grants program is part of Verizon’s commitment to the Obama administration’s ConnectED initiative, under which Verizon is providing up to $100 million in cash and in-kind contributions to drive student achievement, especially in STEM subjects.
“We are excited by the potential learning opportunities that this grant provides our middle school students,” said Superintendent Luvenia Jackson. “We thank the Verizon Foundation for its support of unique and non-traditional learning opportunities through the innovate grant program.”