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Ralston Middle School students use robotics for hands-on STEM learning

Posted at 6:03 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 07:03:22-05

RALSTON, Neb. (KMTV) — Ralston Middle School students are using robotics to gain a better understanding of science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM. Teachers say it's all a part of their initiative to expose students to STEM before they reach high school.

"I like it because obviously pollution is a real thing, and as a 7th grader, being able to do something about it myself is really cool,"Kayleen Ramirez said.

Ramirez is learning STEM using a Sphero. Much like it sounds, a Sphero is a spherical robot that is controlled by a smart phone or tablet.

"We use these Spheros and we can connect a little device that we kind of made [to] help pick up pollution, we can do it on land or water," Ramirez said.

"My kids are engaged the minute that we introduce them to real-world problems," Science Teach Rachel Fleischman said.

Thanks a to a recent grant, Fleischman's class now has 12 Spheros. Students are grouped together and have each created their own pollution-fighting robots, Spheros that can pick up trash.

"I like it because it's a good way to remember it, and it's just a good way to spread the word I guess," Ramirez said.

Fleischman says her students are learning a lot more than just robotics, she says it teaches them to work together to solve problems.

"While one person is manipulating the device with the Sphero, the other is actually taking data and reflecting," she said.

Fleischman tells us a big reason she likes the STEM courses is that they prepare students for high school courses.

"We're going to see them hopefully become a part of that STEM ecosystem when they get out of college and I think we need more of those careers," she said.