During spring of 2023 Vernon Middle School Technology & Computer Science Teacher Heath Mueller submitted a funded Marion School Foundation grant to purchase three Finch Robot Classroom Flocks, providing students with an opportunity to work with robots hands on. Finches help students bring computer science to life by providing them with a hands-on representation of their code.

“Students seem to love the Finches. They are easy to use and the Bluetooth capabilities make them a huge hit with middle school students.”

-Mark Kenny

Throughout the course of a school year, all 7th and 8th grade students have a computer science experience as part of their exploratory rotations. In a final report about the project, Mark Kenny noted that the students have loved creating different shapes, parade floats, dancers and maze solvers. They even had an opportunity to do a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) check-in to reflect how they are feeling.

The most important outcome of this project was seeing students that did not seem to be interested in computer science come alive and beg to use the robots!

Flying With Finch Folks was supported by the Bruno Rinas Memorial Fund and donations in memory of Duane Weltha.

The Marion Foundation’s grant program provides teachers an opportunity to receive funding for projects that benefit students in the Marion Independent School District. Grants are made possible because of generous contributions the Foundation receives throughout the year from both businesses and individuals as well as a number of educational funds that are invested with the Foundation for long-term benefit.