East Williston school district students race robots

North Side Elementary student Sal, 10, readies to race his robot.

Using the power of 3D printing, fourth-grade students at North Side Elementary School in East Williston have built and raced their own microbots.

Under the guidance of Rochelle Sroka, the educational technology specialist at North Side, students were provided all of the tools necessary to put their ingenuity and craftsmanship to the test.

“They are the future solvers of all our world’s problems,” Sroka said during a 3D printing workshop on Monday.

According to Sroka, the 3D printing industry is projected to be worth approximately $34.8 billion by 2024 and industries including health care, manufacturing and even space exploration are taking notice of its advantages.

“My goal as an educator is to teach my young students that they can be the innovators of tomorrow,” Sroka said. “Learning how to create, design and problem-solve using 3D technology is a key skill for their future.”

Using 3D printing pens provided by 3Doodler, the students were able to create anything they could imagine. The students were provided with molds to help them create different robot parts which they used to transform tiny motors into a fleet of racing robots.

“We see this exercise as a pathway towards potential future career opportunities,” said Ed Kemnitzer, the director of technology, innovation and information services for the East Williston school district. “We continue to put focus on design thinking activities while ensuring that students learn on personalized platforms. They may be using 3D pens now to create but this process will mature into deeper innovation as they move through our schools and into their post-secondary lives.”

According to Kemnitzer, middle and high school students are given even more opportunity to work with 3D printing, which has been a major breakthrough for advancing STEM curriculum.

The fourth-grade students at North Side Elementary worked swiftly, within about a half hour, to build the microbots up from nothing more than a small motor. Some let their imaginations run wild, adding legs and wheels.

“It’s like one of those cooking shows,” said Darren, a North Side Elementary student.

Once the students finished building and molding their microbots, it was time to compete head to head in a race. There wasn’t always a clear cut victor.

Vice Principal Jamie Pandolf helps students to bring their creations to life.
Aiden, 9, making sure his microbot ready to race.
Education Technology Specialist Rochelle Sroka explains the importance of 3D printing.
North Side Principal James Bloomgarden gives guidance to the hardworking engineers.
Sroka helps students bring their battle bots to life.
Students continue to finish up their robots for race time.
The 4th-grade students race their robots across the finish line.



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