Monday, February 23, 2015

Community support builds for FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead

Several major companies and foundations have together contributed $164,000 to Manchester’s FIRST® Junior STEAM Ahead program. Funds from the Argosy Foundation, Autodesk, the Norwin S. and Elizabeth N. Bean Foundation, and Texas Instruments will help support costs related to bringing the popular FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) program into fourth grade classrooms.

Fourth graders across the city, beginning with Beech Street, Green Acres and Jewett Street elementary schools, are participating in FIRST® LEGO® League in teams of four students. During lessons that apply math and science concepts, they will design, build, and program robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and other LEGO elements. The students not only practice skills such as computer programming, team-building, and effective communication, but they also start to understand the scientific process and creative problem-solving to find innovative solutions to real-world issues.

Four more schools will be added to the program next school year, and the city’s remaining elementary schools will join the year after that. Corporate contributions and grants cover the cost of the technology, including the LEGO kits, robots and computers.

Equally important to the program’s success are the members of the business community who are giving their time and technical expertise every week. Mentors from SilverTech, Wasabi Ventures, Autodesk, DEKA, FIRST, NH High Tech Council, Fuentek, Robbins Farley, and Salesforce/Cloud for Good provide hands-on guidance to FIRST® Junior STEAM Ahead in the classrooms.

The creation of FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead happened with support from FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international not-for-profit public charity based in Manchester that motivates young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math.

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