MANCHESTER, NH – The learning has begun for Manchester students taking part in the city’s inaugural FIRST® Junior STEAM Ahead program. After several months of planning, Beech Street School, Green Acres and Jewett Street School are bringing the popular FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) program into fourth grade classrooms. FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead is expected to enhance science and math curriculum like never before.
The creation of FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead happened with support from FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), an international not-for-profit public charity based in Manchester that motivates young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math. FIRST has been encouraging young people’s interest and participation in those subjects for more than 25 years, since it was founded by inventor Dean Kamen in 1989.
As part of the FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead program, each fourth grade classroom will participate in FIRST LEGO League with teams of six students. During lessons that apply math and science concepts, they will design, build, and program robots using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 and other LEGO elements. The students not only practice skills such as computer programming, team-building, and effective communication, but they also start to understand the scientific process and creative problem-solving to find innovative solutions to real-world issues.
Members of the business community are giving hands-on guidance to FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead classes, another benefit of the collaboration with FIRST, which recruited mentors for their expertise. Participating companies include SilverTech, Wasabi Ventures, Autodesk, DEKA, NH High Tech Council, Fuentek, Robbins Farley, and Salesforce/Cloud for Good. A public demonstration of FIRST Junior STEAM Ahead is planned in March to show the community the successful learning in progress.