Using new technology and a lot of creativity, six Penn Manor teachers and nine students collaborated on a project last month that culminated in a float-filled “Penn Manor Rose Parade.’’
They used household materials and Hummingbird robotics kits to create devices featuring lights, sensors and motors that they programmed to mimic the movements of a parade float, according to a news release.
Penn Manor used part of a $35,000 PAsmart Grant to purchase 12 of the kits, which will be used in middle school science and high school computer science courses later this year and in 2020-21, the release noted.
The teachers and students, working with the kits for the first time, were tasked with creating floats based on the theme “The Power of Hope.’’
Using materials such as cereal boxes, plastic spoons, cardboard, colored paper and pipe cleaners, they made colorful devices adorned with flashing lights and moving parts. Prizes were awarded for “Whimsy Winner,” “Mechanism Madness” and “High Concept.”
“Robots can be whimsical, weird and wickedly fun,” Charlie Reisinger, Penn Manor technology director, said in the release. “Robotic projects don’t have to just be about winning a competitive race or transporting a package across the room.
“It was thrilling to watch the student and teacher teams partner to invent and construct a creation of their own design,” he said. “At times, it was difficult to discern the student from the teacher — both were in full learning mode.”
The workshop was designed to appeal to girls and generate interest in STEM careers. Participants included middle schoolers Slyvia Moenga, Olivia Rothweiler, Kya Beans, Molly Bushong, Jireh Ellis, Robyn Gaffney and Adrien Hatfield, and high school students Max Bushong and Aiden Lewis.
Participating teachers were Molly Miller and Kristina Fulton of Penn Manor High School and middle school teachers Jennifer Ennis, Christine Harman and Jim Horner.