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Project-Based Learning Prepares Students for Tomorrow
Project-Based Learning Prepares Students for Tomorrow
Posted on 09/21/2021
At Valley Springs Middle, Automation and Robotics students are learning the nuts and bolts of robotics technology.By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Dept.

At Valley Springs Middle School, Ms. Angela Cannon teaches a subject that sounds like it came straight out of a college catalog. This semester, her Automation and Robotics students are learning the nuts and bolts of motors, sensors, and other robotics technology.

“The curriculum is hands-on, project-based learning,” she said. “It gives kids the knowledge and skills to solve complex problems, while making important connections between the real world and what they learn in school.”

Cannon's class is part of Buncombe County Schools’ districtwide Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum, empowering students of all grade levels to engage with technologies that will change the future. In addition to robotics, students learn principles of computer science, biomedical science, and engineering.

As class began on Thursday, students formed groups of two or three and collected gears, belts, wheels, and various steel plates. In teams, they worked to assemble six foundational mechanisms that will help them achieve robotics goals later this year.

“This is the bevel gear,” explained eighth grade student Jayden Smith, “and I’m just about to start working on the belt and chain drive.”

“This is one of my favorite classes,” added classmate Kamari Splawn as he inspected the teeth of a large green gear.

Splawn has most enjoyed working collaboratively with his friends while following diagrams to assemble the machines. As a seventh grader last year, he took Cannon’s Flight and Space class remotely, and knew he wanted to take another PLTW class once in-person learning continued.

“These subjects are beneficial whether someone wants to be a mechanic and pursue a technical career, or study to be an engineer in college,” said Cannon. “I love what I teach, and I absolutely love seeing the students get to play and learn at the same time.”

Learn more about Project Lead the Way in Buncombe County Schools.
Related story: North Windy Ridge Robotics Lab Inspires Tomorrow's Innovators

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