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Ms. Mason’s final checklist for Monday’s robotics event featuring the Blue Angels Elementary Rockstar Ninjas of STEM versus Gulf Power (Jedi Knights) of Engineering was pretty simple…

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However, the work that she and her fifth grade colleagues, students, school administration, and community partners shared leading up to yesterday’s event… not so simple. It all started when Ms. Mason read an article about how schools in the U.S. are not producing experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and explains, “I read it and felt really convicted… that I wasn’t producing rockstar ninjas of STEM.” So, she did something about it:

From that point on, over the past few years I have worked very hard to work the technology, engineering, math, as well as the awesome science into our classroom. And this grant [establishing partnership with Gulf Power] is a part of that. The last few years we have built little tiny robots, but when I saw the new ED3s that came out this September I knew that the Rockstar Ninjas of STEM had to have them. The grant requires, and this has been my favorite part of the grant; the robots are awesome, but what’s even more awesome are our Gulf Power engineers… The grant required 20 contact hours with our students and I had no idea what an influence our engineers would have on our students [and I say “ours” because we have taken ownership of them too].

The Gulf Power engineers who have been teaching and working with the students are Kay Hill, Frank Browne, A.J. McCorvey, and Jimmy Haney (pictured below from left to right with Rockstar Ninjas Maegan and Javin; name identification and photo credit Tony Gilberson, Pensacola News Journal).

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Read more about the partnership in the Pensacola News Journal here. The event was also highlighted by WEAR television (click photo below to view video):

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This is the first in a 4-part series about the robotics event pairing the Blue Angels Elementary’s Rockstar Ninjas of STEM with Gulf Power’s engineers. Part 2 in the series tomorrow highlights special guests at the event – three members of the SWAT team, including Wall-E, from the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office.

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Quotes by Ms. Sarah Mason from robotics event hosted May 12, 2014, at Gulf Power auditorium in Pensacola, Florida. Checklist screen shot from email correspondence.

May 12, 2014, Gulf Power Employees photo. Photo credit Tony Gilberson, Pensacola News Journal. Available online here.

May 12, 2014, WEAR TV video. Available online here.

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