O&R STEM Grant Helps Robots Guide Pearl River Students About New York


For Kim Ulrich, New York State is quite literally her classroom. Kim was looking for a novel way to teach 44 fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary School in Pearl River the year’s remaining social studies curriculum and decided would design a tour of New York State led by robots. 

Armed with a giant blank map of New York, a dozen glass spheres the size of a baseball packed with electronics and a Chromebook, Kim’s 11 teams of four will lay out a NY State tour and then “teach” the robots to guide and narrate it. The students will use code to program the robots to visit the five most populous cities in New York, Rockland County, Pearl River, New York’s bordering states and Canada.

The robots, while skimming across the map, will visit and point out notable land formations such as mountains, plateaus, rivers, lakes, the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. And, thanks to the voice feature, the robots will offer facts about each location.

The more Kim thought of the idea, the better she liked it. She drew up her lesson plan to emphasize team work, scientific observation, problem solving, data collection and analysis.
She wrote a proposal, applied for and was awarded a $1,000 O&R STEM Classroom Grant for the 2018-2019 school year.

Kim also applied for an O&R STEM Classroom Grant for the 2019-2020 school year as well, and was awarded a $994.95 grant for a project that combines English Language Arts, Math, robotics and storytelling.

O&R today awarded grants throughout its service area totaling over $54,000 to support 63 creative, cutting-edge classroom projects, like this echolocation project, that focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

In Rockland County, O&R awarded 33 grants totaling $28,000 for the 2019-2020 school year. A complete list of this year’s Rockland County winners is at the end of this press release.

O&R’s STEM Classroom Grants provided up to $1,000 each to educators at schools (pre-kindergarten through grade 12) and youth group leaders for the 2019-2020 school year in communities located within O&R’s service area. That encompasses: Rockland and parts of Orange and Sullivan counties in New York and parts of Bergen, Passaic and Sussex counties in New Jersey.

Talented, hard-working, thoughtful teachers, like Kim Ulrich, have crafted ambitious, interesting, ingenious, sparkling lesson plans that sizzle. These out-of-the-box proposals are designed to challenge students to think, plan, act and achieve — and have fun doing it.


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