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May 15, 2014

CFEE grant enables CCS to go 3-D

Cooperstown Central School was recently awarded a $9,600 grant in an effort to incorporate robotics and 3-D computer modeling with the use of a 3-D printer into the technology curriculum.

The Cooperstown Foundation for Excellence in Education (CFEE) gave CCS the grant. CFEE is a nonprofit organization that channels alternative resources to the CCS.

Brad Smith, the technology education teacher at CCS, wrote the grant to fund the purchase of LEGO Mindstorm EV3 Robotics Kits to create enthusiasm for high-tech careers among the junior and senior high school students.

“As we look at different careers and opportunities, we need to make students aware of the need for students with math and science skills,” Smith said.

“Brad is hopeful that this will form a natural connection for students with those 21st century careers,” said Superintendent C.J. Hebert.

“We’re very excited that Brad put this proposal together and that the CFEE decided to underwrite it,” Hebert continued.

Smith said that he wrote the grant proposal because of a visit to the State University of New York Institute of Technology in Utica. Smith said they have a robotics education outreach program for area grade-school children.

Smith said he would use the kits to challenge students to build structures and robots that have to perform various tasks.

“Kids are so excited about technology and we figured this would be a great way to capture their excitement,” Smith said.

Another benefit of utilizing this technology is that it affords students problem-solving skills, Smith said.

The 3-D printer will actually allow students to have a plastic model of a product or part that they designed, Smith said.

The other purpose for utilizing this software is an overall effort to offer more STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) coursework to students.

“We’re trying to develop more STEM coursework,” Smith said.

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