Worcester County Section, IEEE Supports Shrewsbury's Robotics Summer Enrichment Pilot Program

The Worcester County Section, IEEE was a sponsor for Shrewsbury's RoboticsSummer Enrichment Program, a pilot program offered to fourth and fifth graders.  FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology) and LEGO developed a partnership "The First Lego League (FLL)" with the goal of inspiring curiosity among 9-12 year olds in science and technology through the use of LEGOs.   Based on FLL’s philosophies, rules, and guidelines, this summer enrichment to introduce elementary aged students to hardware engineering, software engineering, robotics, and the dynamics of participating on an engineering team solving an engineering design project.

Using LEGO/Mindstorms kits, engineering procedures, teamwork, tools, materials, and lots of hands-on experience, twenty-eight student engineers were challenged to design, build, debug and program LEGO robots.  A regulation playing field was built by parent volunteers.  Structures on the playing field provided the student engineers with obstacles they needed to consider when testing and programming their robots.

Thanks to IEEE for their generous support, Shrewsbury Public Schools, through Bob Cornacchioli (Director of Technology and Media) and under the guidance of instructor, Dottie Jensen, assisted by volunteer professional engineers and IEEE members, Jim Jensen and Bill Laprade, FIRST Compaq/Shrewsbury Team 467 high school student coaches and parent volunteers, were able to provide a summer enrichment pilot robotics program for fourth and fifth graders.

Students documented their learning experiences in the dynamics of teamwork, problem-solving, project management, creativity, persistence, design concepts, strategy and competition in their individual Student Guides.  Each team presented and demonstrated their robot to their families and friends.  A video was made documenting the children’s experiences and is currently being aired on Shrewsbury’s ETS channel.

Dottie Jensen displayed and demonstrated the students’ robots at IEEE’s Region I Meeting in Cornwall, Canada on August 18th and 19th.

In September, Shrewsbury is hopeful it can offer after-school LEGO/Mindstorms robotics programs at its Middle School, as well as each of their four elementary schools.  Each FLL team will have an opportunity to compete at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School’s FLL competition, scheduled for Saturday, December 10th.  Funding is being pursued so the Middle School team can also compete at the Massachusetts Regional FFL competition.

Follow along with Shrewsbury’s FLL and Team 467 students as they prepare for First 2001 by viewing their website at:


IEEE's support was a driving factor in making this FLL summer camp possible.  Thank you so very much for supporting us in this phenomenal experience!

This program also provides a segue into Shrewsbury's High School FIRST competitions.

Statement of Objectives
To sponsor, support, and grow Elementary and Middle School teams of student engineers from at least two different school districts to design, develop, and compete in Lego/Mindstorms robots FIRST and local competitions.  Using engineering procedures, teamwork, tools, and materials, these student engineers will be inspired and challenged to invent robots through this exciting hands-on engineering experience under the guidance of professional engineers, teachers, instructors, parents, and high school student volunteers.  The student engineers will also develop the necessary software programs to control their robots.  This will introduce the 9-14 year olds to h/w engineering, s/w engineering, and robotics, as well as provide a segue into the High School level FIRST competitions.  The kits are reusable and renewable to support subsequent teams and competitions. And the program will be transferable, project materials can be downloaded and project leaders will assist other interested school districts.

Plans for Achieving Objectives
Presentations at multiple schools (at least 2 different school districts); robot demonstrations; commitment from PTO (Parent Teacher Organizations), school administration and parents to after-school programs and competitions; volunteer commitments (instructors, HS student coaches and parents); and publicity (video on local cablevision station, newspaper articles and website).   Professional engineers and instructors will assist school administrators with curriculum development.  Shrewsbury’s Summer Enrichment Program Lego Robots course materials will be setup so that they can be downloaded (linked from Worcester County Section’s webpage), and its instructor and high school coaches will be available to assist.

How Achievement Will Be Measured
Both elementary and middle school teams (8 teams expected) will compete in both local and FIRST competitions; they will share their learning experiences through publicity and the websites; students will demonstrate their robots to various groups; students will be experienced in the dynamics of teamwork, problem-solving, project management, creativity, persistence, design concepts, strategy and competition; students will complete evaluation forms.  IEEE sponsorship will be displayed on team t-shirts and promoted in articles and on IEEE and school websites (which will detail the progression of the projects).

How Many Members Will Benefit From This Project?
Everyone will benefit by greater awareness of the profession and enhancing education.