A Central Woodlands fifth-grader turned a little TV-watching time into a golden opportunity to reach students who maybe haven’t had the same opportunities she has at her school.
Inspired by a commercial, Hannah Levy applied for a $500 grant from “Summer of Service“, a program of Youth Service America and The Walt Disney Co., to build a robot, which in turn she used to help students who attend a school without a formal STEM curriculum.
Hannah wrote an essay and devised a budget to build what she calls “Roby the Robot.” She won the grant, which she used to construct Roby, then took him to North Park Montessori Middle School to show students there how to build their own.
Hannah was one of eight Michigan students to win one of the 340 grants awarded nationwide, and the only student from Kent ISD.
Helping Hannah were her parents, Lenny and Heidi Levy. Her father helped her create a Roby the Robot blog, while her mother helped search for a school that didn’t have the STEM curriculum, a condition of the grant.
Buildingthe robot, which takes five AA batteries to power, was a long process, she said. After building the chassis, an arduino board, or “brain” was added to a connector board. Two motors were added and the robot was finished with two infrared sensors.
“It was fun,” she said. “I like to build robots and I think this will help other kids’ interest in technology.”
North Park teacher Tonia Ettinger said her class looked forward to trying to replicate Hannah’s robot in class.
“They were really excited,” she said. “There was a lot of jumping up and down when I told them about the idea. They had a super positive reaction.”