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By Tim Linscott
Managing Editor
A virtual ‘who’s who’ of robots was whizzing, whirling and moving around Renee Marquardt’s classroom last week.
Wall-E and R2-D2 kept busy by moving quickly on command across the floor while Buzz Lightyear issued orders as he completed prepared tasks.
This wasn’t a new video game, it was the handy work of students learning about robotics in Marquardt’s junior high class.
She teaches a unit on technology and robotics with a generous grant of $2,000 from from the Perkins County Community Foundation.
The grant helped Marquardt buy hardware and software components to enhance her robotics unit.
“We are very excited and appreciate that the foundation supports the value of technology in our ever-changing world and is willing to help us bring it into the classroom,” Marquardt said.
The unit is a way to teach several useful career tools to students.
“Students have been very excited about being given the opportunity to enjoy a hands-on activity with the different robots.  Students gain knowledge and experience in technical reading, using diagrams and flowcharts, construction, and programming,” Marquardt said.
She hopes the students will be able to understand how science, technology, engineering and math all relate to each other during the unit.
Students construct and program robots to complete a challenge.
The unit also teaches problem solving skills and builds creativity.
“Robotics allows all students to be challenged at different levels,” Marquardt said.
The sky is the future for the robotics unit said Marquardt.
“We plan on purchasing more robots that will allow us to go further into the building, with programming and use of robotics,” Marquardt said. “We also hope to enter robotics competitions. We plan to expand our curriculum as time and dollars allow.”