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Grant Funds Engineering Labs at Middle Schools

A grant from Torrance-based Robinson Helicopter Company helps middle school students build robots and aeronautical devices in brand-new fabrication labs.

Middle school students in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District who are interested in engineering can now build prototypes of robots and aeronautical devices in dedicated fabrication labs, the Peninsula Education Foundation announced last week in a news release.

Unveiled Sept. 13 at back-to-school night, the fabrication labs were built over the summer with funds from Torrance-based Robinson Helicopter Company, according to the foundation. The grant is part of the STEM—science, technology, engineering and math—programs at Miraleste, Palos Verdes and Ridgecrest intermediate schools.

The STEM program, which was established with a grant from Honda and is funded by the Peninsula Education Foundation, has been popular with students, according to the news release.

"(Students) can't leave it at the classroom door!" said PVIS STEM teacher Scott Garman. "They're thinking about their projects after they leave, which is great to see."

According to STEM teachers, the students have formed lunchtime and after-school engineering clubs to continue their studies.

"Students are building and testing some very sophisticated models and learning computer drawing programs used by professionals," said Miraleste STEM teacher Campbell Nimick.

More than 350 students are enrolled in the STEM program.

In addition to the STEM program at the middle schools, the Peninsula Education Foundation funds high school engineering and robotics courses, among other programs, at Palos Verdes public schools.

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