Skip To ContentSkip To Content
    Computer Science and Robotics Program Partnership Supports STEM Education at Seattle Schools
    Posted on 06/28/2019
    A student works with a robot in a classroom

    Computer Science and Robotics Program Partnership Supports STEM Education at Seattle Schools

    Third-grade students at John Muir Elementary learned to build a robot in just one hour at the kick-off event marking the beginning of a partnership with Amazon and FIRST Washington, an organization providing mentor-based science and technology programs.

    The partnership will bring computer science and robotics programs to up to 30 Title I Seattle Public Schools, including John Muir, in the hopes of inspiring the next generation of computer scientists and engineers, particularly for those who are under-represented in STEM fields.

    A student works with a robot in a clasroom“Students that are involved in these programs from childhood through their education are five-times more likely to consider STEM fields and computer science when they get to college,” Beth Galetti, senior vice president for human resources at Amazon, said. “So, we’re really excited to be able to bring these students from their childhood to a career progression here.”

    Recent Franklin High School graduate Gizan Gondo experienced this first-hand. After participating in the FIRST robotics program at Franklin, he was inspired to major in mechanical engineering at Central Washington University. On Tuesday, he wanted to give back to his community by teaching the John Muir students how to build a robot.

    “I was a student like this,” Gondo said. “I didn’t get the treatment like this until I was in high school, but if I got it way before, I would have been more involved and doing so much more.”

    Three students work together in a classroomGondo helped students build their robot using a pre-made kit and program it to move along a drawn track. After seeing her robot move for the first time, third-grader Dior shrieked with excitement.

    “We get to put things together,” Dior said of why she enjoyed the project. “I’ve never done this before, and it is fun.”

    John Muir Elementary Principal Brenda Ball Cuthbertson said she enjoyed watching students like Dior collaborating and gaining skills that can help them far in the future.

    “We tell them, and it’s true, that they are going to be our future scientists, engineers, and mathematicians,” Cuthbertson said of the impact this partnership could have on her students. “They are going to be the ones that are going to create the things that we can’t even imagine, and they are getting started on that today.”

    While the program focuses on STEM education, students will have greater access to resources and experiences that help build complex problem-solving skills important to any career path. Educators at participating schools will also learn new skills and ways of applying standards-based teaching in their classrooms.

    “This isn’t just a program for kids or schools with really active PTAs or parents that work for technology and engineering companies like Amazon or Microsoft or Boeing,” FIRST Washington President Erin McCallum said. “Every single one of these kids has the ability to do this.”

    Read more about Title 1 schools at Seattle Public Schools.

    Read more about Seattle Public Schools science curriculum.