MAAF and Airbus Opens Whiz Kidz Laboratory
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Led by an Airbus Group education initiative, the Mobile Airport Authority Foundation (MAAF) has opened Whiz Kidz Laboratory, a program designed to further STEM education along the Gulf Coast.
Airbus teamed with MAAF, Turner Supply Company, Alabama Power Foundation, Jubilee BEST Robotics and area educators to create a workshop space for use by classes, teachers, and academic teams to learn outside the classroom, work on special projects and have access to tools and resources that may not be readily available at their local schools. The workshop space is equipped with workbenches, various hand tools, drills, a table saw, band saw, CNC machine, a 3D printer, iPad Pros, and other items identified by a core group of STEM educators and Airbus employees.
This week Whiz Kidz hosted its first class: a group of 30 middle school and high school teachers from 19 schools in Mobile and Baldwin Counties. In this multi-day class, the teachers became familiar with the tools, techniques, equipment and supplies required to assemble six fully-functioning small robots and prepared themselves to lead a team of students to compete in the Jubilee BEST program this fall.
"This is part of a strategic workforce development program. Engaging students in STEM programming early is critical to fostering their interest in science and math, encouraging innovation while having fun,” said Michelle Hurdle, Airbus Group employee and MAAF board member. "The robot is a result of the teams working together, practicing brainstorming, using imagination, and learning in an atypical classroom with state-of-the-art tools that are not available at all schools. The class this week will help teachers better foster this process with the students.”
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