By Heather Collins
McDonald’s of Central Indiana awarded three Fishers teachers with Make Activities Count Grants, part of a program from McDonald’s restaurants to Make Activities Count in the classroom. The three winning teachers are Laurie Christie of Sand Creek Intermediate, Bob Rice of Hamilton Southeastern Junior High School and Brad Lowell of Fall Creek Intermediate.
Christie will use her MAC Grant to develop a book club. Rice will use the grant to develop a student-driven genetic unit to analyze DNA and hereditary data. Lowell will use the grant to build robots that will complete real-world missions.
“In my classroom, we work on real-life, problem-solving missions every week,” said Lowell, a fifth grade science teacher. “One week students might be programming robots to autonomously rescue miners trapped in a collapsed maze mine shaft, and another they might be designing a rover bot to navigate the crater-filled Martian surface. Our Vex competition this year has us working with another team to move hex blocks from one side of the playing field to another, docking them in garages.”
Lowell also sponsors a drone club, a Sphero club, a hot air balloon club and a rocket club. Lowell has taught at Hamilton Southeastern Schools for 26 years.
He said the students have been excited to build and code their robots.
“It’s very easy to apply robotics to our curriculum,” he said. “All activities count. Robotics bridges science, math, engineering and technology and makes learning fun and meaningful for my students.”
The students will be building the robots over the next several weeks and will complete the robots in January.
Teachers interested in applying for a MAC Grant can submit an application for fall 2017 at macgrantsindy.com.