RIDGWAY, ELK COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ)– Francis S. Grandinetti Elementary School in Ridgway showcased its Innovation Lab Wednesday.
The lab challenges kids to incorporate STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) into their everyday learning by using robots, Legos and other activities.
“In normal classes, you do a lot of work, but in here, it’s all about thinking and being creative,” 5th grader Nathan Steger said.
The classroom opened at the beginning of the school year.
It’s an extension of the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) class the students already take.
The classroom and its tools are also available for any FSG teacher to use as a hands-on alternative to textbooks.
STEM and computer science teacher Rita Buhite provides both the teachers and students with coaching on how to use the new technology.
For the students, though, they’re learning without actually realizing it.
“I like building your own things because you can use your imagination and you get to create whatever you want,” 5th grader Izzi lawrie said.
“I like how you can code and can choose how the robots move and stuff, that is my favorite part,” 3rd grader Sophia Bennardi said.
The school district received around $40,000 in grants and donations from the Elk County Community Foundation, Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.
The school board also provided funding for the project. Some of the robots were loaned to the school from Seneca Highlands IU9.
The school district is also incorporating coding and computer science courses at the middle and high school.