Sacred Heart Academy Awarded NASA Team Grant for Robotics Competition
Posted 11/18/2015 10:21AM

The Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation has awarded Sacred Heart Academy a NASA Team Grant for the purposes of funding a VEX Robotic Competition team.

Academy students will build an innovative robot to compete in future "Nothing but Net" competitions, the world's largest and fastest growing academic robotic program globally with more than 12,000 teams from 33 countries playing in over 1,000 tournaments worldwide.

According to the VEX website, "VEX Robotics Competition Nothing But Net is played on a 12'x12' square field. Two alliances – one "red" and one "blue" – composed of two teams each, compete in matches consisting of a fifteen second autonomous period followed by one minute and forty-five seconds of driver-controlled play. The object of the game is to attain a higher score than the opposing Alliance by Scoring your Balls and Bonus Balls in your Low and High Goals, and by Elevating Robots in your Climbing Zone."

Daniel McGeeney, physics teacher and STEM coordinator at Sacred Heart Academy, expressed the value of such an opportunity for SHA students, "When our students participate in a program like this, STEM becomes so much more of a reality. Students take the lead—they're the ones who will be engineering unique robot designs, building their robots, and programming them. I am hopeful it will raise interest in STEM careers. For high school students, having fun and learning leadership skills in an authentic and rigorous STEM setting is immensely valuable."

SHA recently announced its partnership with Project Lead the Way, a national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) curriculum organization that offers training and resources to educators around the world. Teachers will receive special intensive training starting in the summer of 2016 to integrate Project Lead the Way curriculum into the classroom.

On the grant award and STEM initiatives, SHA Principal Mary Lee McCoy shared, "SHA has been using these types of project-based learning for years, centering on what students can do with knowledge and not simply how much knowledge they can amass. These opportunities will certainly complement our already rigorous and diverse academic offerings."

The Robotics Education & Competition (REC) Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this goal.

More information on the competition can be found at the following link:

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