Students Enjoy Project Based Science Classes At Mercer County Day Treatment
Robots, drones and a 3-D printer make up a large part of the Mercer County Day Treatment’s science class. The children learn through a project-based class that allows creativity and requires collaboration.
Mercer County Day Treatment serves students age 12 through 18 “who have demonstrated an inability to function in a public school setting due to behavioral or academic difficulties” according to the school website.
Teacher David Sullivan outlined the class in six weeks segments allowing growth and a new project after the student has mastered the previous rotation.
Excitement seemed to be tangible in the science classroom as the students competed in the robot wars. The students gathered around the arena to watch each robot fight to the finish. Winning constituted pushing the opponent robot off the table or flipping the opponent over.
“We start with the robots and the coding that goes with that and build up to piloting the drone,” said Sullivan. “The kids learn from failures in a positive light that way. The students really enjoy it. They never want to leave this classroom because it feels more like fun than learning.”
The STEM science room is based in solar powered projects complete with a high tech 3-D printer.
“Anything you can think of, it can print using Thinkiverse and this 3-D printer,” said Phillip Sloane, student of Mercer County Day Treatment. “This oversized hot glue gun is my baby, and it taught me things I never thought I could learn.”
Sloane said that he found the plans on a website called Thinkiverse and was able to repair the drone using parts he created.
Two of the students have completed their drone piloting course and demonstrated its ability to be helpful in assessing roof damage. Dreama Sparrow and Timmy Bender completed the course and agreed that it enhanced their learning experience.
“I thought it would be super hard and confusing, “ said Sparrow. “But I caught on real quick.”
The drone is capable of traveling one-half mile with blue tooth capabilities. It has a 360 degree camera view and goes 75 feet in the air.
“This project helped me understand the mechanics of a drone,” said Bender. “I am usually good at technology, but this had all the tiny buttons and I was excited to learn about it.”
Superintendent Dennis Davis visited the class during their robot wars.
“I really think Sullivan is a wonderful teacher and he is doing a phenomenal job with the project based learning,” said Davis. “These kids are enjoying learning. Some of them are enjoying it for the first time in a long time.”
Mercer County Day Treatment receives the majority of their funding through Mercer County Schools.
For more information about Mercer County Day Treatment visit www.mercer.kyschools.us.
To learn more, check out this week’s issue of the Harrodsburg Herald.