By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
The Rotary Club of Cobourg and the Northumberland Community Futures Corporation have made an investment in Venture 13 Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre’s future STEM-based educational programming – specifically through the funding of LEGO Robot and Micro:bit kits.
On Thursday, Venture 13 welcomed 55 Grade 8 students from two Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board schools for an inter-school coding competition, a day of robot coding and competitions providing hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning outside of a regular classroom setting.
Fifteen-year-old Heidi McFadden – coding student and founder of Probot4Kids – led the students through an introductory coding session before forming them into groups, then assigned them the task of preparing robots for two challenges: maze navigation and sumo wrestling.
Venture 13 staff were introduced to the LEGO Robot and Micro:bit kits through a partnership with the school board’s Student Success Pathways Consultant Jaime Nobes. With the support of the CFDC, the Town of Cobourg and Venture 13 staff approached the Rotary club for funding. As a result, the club has graciously agreed to pay for half of the expense of acquiring the new kids, with CFDC committing matching funds.
“CFDC’s mission through our partnership with Venture 13 is to advance entrepreneurial development and help build the industries of the future,” CFDC Executive Director Wendy Curtis said in the press release.
“Through the investment in this program, we hope to inspire students to explore STEM-based learning through the development of interactive and innovative experiences.”
Thursday’s inter-school coding-competition pilot is one of several programs being envisioned to engage young people with the fundamentals of coding, robotics, engineering and entrepreneurship. Other possibilities include Coding Buddies (pairing high-school students with younger ones), Robot Business (connecting coding, robotics and entrepreneurship) and a Robotics Library.
“The Rotary Club of Cobourg is dedicated to serving the Cobourg community, providing funding to organizations and individuals, and launching programs to enhance the quality of life here in Cobourg,” Rotary Club of Cobourg President Deborah Burgess said.
“In our 100th-anniverary year, we hope that these LEGO Robot and Micro:bit kits provide new opportunities for this next generation of Cobourg leaders and entrepreneurs.”
As Venture 13 looks forward to implementing these kits into new youth-coding programming for 2023, they join the Town of Cobourg in extending thanks to the Rotary Club of Cobourg, Northumberland CFDC and Jaime Nobes of the school board for their support and collaboration.