According the the Optimist Club of Bossier City's website, since it's inception in 1968, the club has given over $500,000 to Bossier Parish Teachers through their Optimist Grant. STEAM teacher Linda Morgan, along with the rest of the 2021 cohort, is the newest teacher to be blessed with the funds to bring to life a hands-on learning project.
"I knew the LEGO EV3 robots we use in robotics are being retired," Morgan recalls. "I wasn't sure how I was going to replace them until the email for the grant landed in my inbox."
Morgan's grant proposal outlined how she would use $3,000, the club's largest award, to purchase 10 LEGO Spike Prime robots for use in her classroom.
"They're fun looking," she explains, "They are the kind of robots that kids want to explore because their bright colors make them appear to be friendly."
Morgan is hoping to incorporate that "friendliness" into her STEAM classes to inspire a whole new group of burgeoning computer scientists. Her hope is that she can reach students with these robots who didn't sign up for robotics out of fear of failure. Morgan hopes to prove that with time, practice, and even some help from some friendly optimists, anyone can develop skills in computer science.
The Optimist club will find out in the spring of 2022 how successful Mrs. Morgan's project will be and who in Bossier Parish has another great classroom idea they can help bring to life.