Elementary students at Florence school show off work with thumb-sized robots

February 13, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – North Vista Elementary teacher Shannon McGurn got a chance Tuesday to show off what she and her class did with a Ruiz 4 Kids Mini Grant for Teachers: Ozobots.

McGurn’s classroom took their Ozobots – thumb-sized, dome-shaped wheeled robots with flashing lights – and turned them loose on mathematically based mazes to work their way through equations, 45-degree turns and, if everything went right, success.

The whole process was driven by the students’ Chromebooks.

“Thanks to the Ruiz 4 Kids grant, my students have acquired an intuitive, block-based coding foundation behind robotic commands,” McGurn said. “The Ozobots have given students much-needed experiences in exploration and creativity – something often lost in the classroom. The hands-on experience provided through the use of Ozobots have kept students engaged which is directly tied to achievement.”

Educators do such a tremendous job every day working hard to make learning an exciting and challenging experience, Ruiz 4 Kids board member Krista Meekins said.

“Students today have so many distractions, it takes being creative in the classroom to keep them engaged,” Meekins said. “With the Ruiz 4 Kids Mini-Grants for Teachers, it allows us to help local teachers achieve their educational goals for their students. We are thrilled to provide support to Ms. McGurn’s look forward to witnessing what her students will accomplish.”

Ruiz 4 Kids is a nonprofit organization founded in 1991 when employees of Ruiz Food Products Inc. asked founder Fred Ruiz to help them explore ways to assist families with children in need.

Today, Ruiz 4 Kids works to fund two youth/education programs: scholarships for high school seniors and college students and the Mini Grants for Teachers program.

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