With science and engineering undoubtedly being the way of the future, introducing children to STEM concepts early on is one of the best ways to prepare them for what lies ahead.

Many children will argue that the time for school is over and now is time for summer fun, but the Joel Barlow High School Robotics Team is partnering with the Easton Public Library to combine the two while staying safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Committed to giving back to the community by guiding local youth, the high school club is providing a virtual, entertaining opportunity for third to fifth graders to learn programming. The course runs through Aug. 11. Registration is open and required.

Kids can sign up at any time in the coming weeks, and the team would be more than happy to help them through. The group is relatively small so there would be no issue with catching up. To sign up they should contact the library to register and get access to the zoom code. If they are interested in contacting the robotics team directly, the group email is joelbarlowrobotics@gmail.com

The team’s coding department will lead the students through five sessions, using Scratch, an introductory code program developed in 2007 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Beginning with introductions and initial set up, the kids will create their own accounts in which they are free to experiment, practice, and eventually learn to make their own app.

The Barlow robotics team, known in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) community as Team 4572, reached new heights this year by winning the New England regional Waterbury event before the pandemic caused the cancelation of subsequent events.

The team has been a part of the FRC since 2013, aiming to bring students an experience as close to the real-world engineering process as possible. Having spent six weeks strategizing, prototyping, building and testing, they finally created a robot with the ability to maneuver over rough terrain, fire dodgeballs with both speed and accurate trajectory, and spin a horizontal wheel to the desired position.

Barlow Robotics 2020 robot, “Luigi”.

Since its inception seven years ago, the team has improved and changed the lives of many high school students seeking a path into the future.

As one of the most extensive science, technology, engineers and math (STEM) programs at Barlow, the team’s mentors give real, experience-based insight that helps all who join to develop in both mind and character. 

Anyone interested in helping the team reach its financial goals may access the website here.

The entrance fee and required materials are expensive, so any donation would be greatly appreciated. 

Photo at top: A group shot of the team in Waterbury after winning the first regional event.

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