ARLINGTON — The fourth-graders in Charlie Cummings' Fisher Elementary School class are filled with a love of science, and members of the community along with Mack Molding are fostering their interest by funding the purchase of robotic blocks.
Mack Molding engineers Ann Wedell and Scott Rishell recently visited Cummings' classroom with Mack Group chief financial officer Florence Belnap to join students in opening the classroom's newest teaching tools, called Cubelets. Cummings' class raised money, including $1,796 from Mack, through DonorsChoose, which allows individuals to donate directly to public school classroom projects. While visiting Wedell and Rishell also discussed what they do at the leading custom plastics molder and supplier of contract manufacturing services, as well as how their love of science, engineering and learning helped shape who they are today.
"As a company, Mack has always been focused on making a difference in the communities where we have facilities by supporting access to high quality education and healthcare," Belnap said in a release. "Seeing the excitement on the students' faces as they discovered the wonders of design and engineering was truly rewarding, and hopefully we have even inspired some future Mack employees."
According to the website of manufacturer Modular Robotics, Cubelets harness of the power of play to help users explore big ideas like robotics and coding while teaching the value of problem-solving, persistence and communication. The devices will be integrated into the class' "makerspace"-style design center, as well as in a specific unit on engineering. According to Cummings, the ability to plan, manipulate, observe and redesign in real-time is an invaluable experience for students.
"Living in beautiful Southern Vermont, our students have access to inspiring natural resources that really reinforce the biology, life science and earth science lessons they learn at school," Cummings said in a release. "Providing meaningful technology-related experiences can be more challenging, however, and Cubelets Robotic Blocks will meet that demand. By providing hands-on, flexible thinking activities, students will be able to explore the process of design and engineering, trial and error, data collecting, observation and critical thinking. They are a naturally curious class, and we are grateful to Mack and all our donors for feeding that curiosity."