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Legislators in Indiana suggest funding for school robotics teams



Indianapolis, Indiana – A proposal to increase the number of schools offering robotics programs is being considered by Indiana legislators.

Grants would be provided to schools under House Bill 1382 to start robotics teams.

According to state representative Chuck Goodrich, robotics teams are currently present in around 30% of Indiana’s school districts (R-Noblesville). He noted that the law would permit that to increase to at least 60%.

“The hope is this bill will move us from 3,000 current students to 18,000 or 20,000 students across Indiana,” said Goodrich, who introduced the proposal.

According to Goodrich, the legislation’s objective is to persuade more Hoosier students to pursue STEM careers and remain in Indiana.

His proposal would mandate partnerships between winning teams and colleges, technical schools, or businesses.

“When kids get internships, they get jobs, they get summer jobs, they get relationships with industries, we know they learn here and they stay here,” Goodrich said.

According to engineering teacher Edward Schmitt, the majority of students on the robotics team at Plainfield High School are interested in STEM jobs.

“We focus on producing students that critically think, that are problem solvers and that are going to be successful in life after high school,” Schmitt said.

High school, middle school, and elementary schools in Plainfield all have robotics teams. Students claim that the curriculum teaches them a number of practical skills.

“It’s a lot of craziness, it’s a lot of management,” said Aaron Pannel, a Plainfield High School senior and team lead. “We have 42 members on the team, so it’s a lot of planning, time management and trying to make sure we use the best resources.”

“It’s a lot of troubleshooting and learning to deal with problems,” said Luci Battershell, a senior.

Both Aaron and Luci declare their intent to study engineering. Eliza Kuehn, a sophomore, is also seriously considering taking the same route.

“I haven’t really always been in tune to engineering, but now it’s something that I can really see myself doing,” Kuehn said.

The House unanimously approved Goodrich’s legislation, which is currently being looked at by a Senate committee.

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