Grants Boost STEM Activities

April 25, 2016

HUNTINGTON — The NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium has awarded the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) two grants that will advance STEM engagement among West Virginia students.

RCBI will invest more than $20,000 to strengthen robotics programs and provide online training for educators on Additive Manufacturing (better known as 3D Printing) for their curriculum.

RCBI has a strong history of hosting West Virginia educators who want to learn more about incorporating 3D Printing technology in classroom lessons.

The most recent NASA grants will allow RCBI to enhance this online material with videos that illustrate the basics of 3D Printing and offer online guidance for educators on incorporating the technology in the curriculum.

“Providing hands-on activities for youngsters and supplementing 3D Printing technology with instructive video enhances learning,” said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. “These continuing resources will keep young people engaged, and help ensure they’re excited about becoming tomorrow’s makers and creators.”

The NASA grants also bolster RCBI’s support of robotics in southern West Virginia.  

Students from throughout the region will be invited to FIRST LEGO League events at RCBI, including a “boot camp” for new teams and an event that qualifies teams for the state tournament. In addition, five teams from Mason, McDowell, Mingo, Wayne and Wyoming counties will receive LEGO Mindstorm robots for use during the FIRST LEGO League season. 

Founded in 1998, FIRST LEGO League events help young people develop skills in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. A key component of LEGO activities is a focus on fundamental core values of teamwork, friendly competition, discovery, cooperation, creativity and fun.

For more information on the robotics project at RCBI, contact Mike Friel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . For information on 3D Printing in the classroom, contact Becky Calwell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .