Robotics Press Release

February 25, 2010 by

I see you.

I see you.



Project Title:  Robotics classes at Marbury Middle School. Introduction -

  1.  Who are you?  Jason Wingate, Principal and Dennis R. Shows, Science Teacher at Marbury Middle School in the Autauga County School District.  The mission of the Autauga County School District is to provide excellent educational opportunities that enable our students to acquire the knowledge, skills, and personal qualities necessary for responsible citizenship and lifelong learning.
  2.  What does your organization do?  Marbury Middle School is a public school in the Autauga County School District.  This project targets eighth grade students at Marbury Middle School.  Most of these students are also involved in public speaking and communication classes at MMS.  Some of these robotics students will present various machines, robots, and carnival rides in physical science classes.


 Objective -

  1.  What is the problem?  A lack of interest in continued studies in science and technology after middle school. 
  2. How did you determine it was an issue?  Previously there were no advanced classes to interest students in science, physics, engineering, and robotics in Marbury Middle School.  This was primarily because there was no funding to support such advanced classes.  In addition, there currently is only one chemistry and one physics class available at the high school level due to the lack of interest in science after middle school.


Those aren't my fingers.

Those aren't my fingers.

Justification -

  1.  How much money did you receive in total?  We received $6,865 from Mid-South Resource Conservation and Development Council.  An additional $87 was donated by parents of and student in robotics classes.
  2. What did you do with the money? 
Category Dollar amount Total
MINDSTORMS® Education Robotics Engineering I – Getting Started Package $3,870 (12 sets, 5 posters, Robotics Engineering & NXT software with site license) $3,870
Education Resource Sets $931 (12 sets) $931
NXT Video Trainer $294 (site license) $294
XL Storage Bins $100 (6 sets) $100
Simple and Motorized Mechanisms Set $135 (12 sets) $1,620
Intro Simple and Motorized Mech. Activity Pack $90 $90
Advancing Simple and Motorized Mech. Pack $50 $50
Tax & Shipping $0 $0
  Project Total $6,955
  Funds from RC&D ($6,868)
  Other donations ($87)
  Balance $0

The MINDSTORMS® Education Getting Started Package includes 12 base sets to serve 24 students working in pairs.  It also includes the NXT software with a site license.  The NXT Video Trainer from the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon is a main teaching tool and/or for students to use at their own pace.  The extra large storage bins are designed to store MINDSTORMS® sets, and each one can accommodate two groups projects and materials.

The Simple and Motorized Mechanisms sets include pulleys, levers, gears, wheel and axles, and teacher’s guides which can be used with the Lego MINDSTORMS robot kits or independently.  The sets can also be used to demonstrate physical science concepts.  This budget does not include various books, engineering, and science equipment provided by the teacher.

Future expansions such as the purchase of 12 laptops (one per group), robotics competitions, field trips, and at least two robotics classes per school year will continue to be pursued.

  1. What activities were preformed?  After identifying the weakness in science and technology, we asked the question, “What are students interested in?”  This was our starting point. From here we contacted Representative Gipson to ask for suggestions. He told us we should apply for the RC&D grant and that it sounded like a great idea. We then contacted Yvonne Thomas, M.Ed. with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. She walked us through the grant process. I also spoke with Charlie McAlpine who offered valuable help in the entire process. Charlie and Yvonne have called to check on our progress.
  2. Where did these activities take place?  Most of our activities were performed in Mr. Shows robotics classroom, but some testing was done in various location around campus and a few competitions were held on the baseball field.
  3. How many people were helped?  Robotics classes at Marbury Middle School will directly reach approximately 50 students every year.  Additional students will be impacted when robotics creations are demonstrated in physical science classes by robotics and public speaking/communications students.  Pictures of our project are and will continue to be posted on the MMS website.  Videos of the classes projects will be shown with the morning announcements next year.
  4. Were there any jobs created?  This project will stimulate students to go on to jobs in science, technology, and engineering.  In addition, having a robotics class allowed us to hire a part time science teacher.
  5. Which of the local RC&D Councils were involved?  The county extension office was crucial to assisting in the grant process. 
  6. Were there other organizations involved in the project?  No other organizations are currently involved with this project, but we have plans in the future for field trips to the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama and to participate in local and state robotics competitions. We are currently seeking outdated robotics equipment from Hyundai to assist with robotics on a large scale.
  7. How did they help with the project?  Without the $6,868 provided Mid-South Resource Conservation and Development Council this project would not be what it is today.
  8. How did you give them credit for the funds?  To thank RC&D we have posted information about robotics classes and this project on the Marbury Middle School Website and Mr. Shows teacher pages.  Photos of class projects will continue to be updated on the website.  The members of RC&D, County Extension, local Representatives, and local paper attended a demonstration of what is being accomplished at the school.

Conclusion -

  1. When did you complete the project?   Final purchases for this project as outlined above were made on January 20th, 2010.  Future expansions such as the purchase of 12 laptops (one per group), robotics competitions, field trips, and at least two robotics classes per school year will continue to be pursued.
  2. How did you determine if it was successful?  We feel that this project is being successful based in part on the moral and interest of the students and their parents.
  3. Please provide your contact information for news articles and/or press releases. 

Mr. Jason Wingate
Marbury Middle School Principal
[email protected]

Mr. Dennis Shows
8th Grade Physical Science, Science Olympiad, and Robotics Teacher
[email protected]

Marbury School
210 County Road 20
Marbury, Alabama 36051
(205)755-2118 • (334)365-3522 • FAX (205)755-3168

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