Soccer-playing robots expose NYC students to summertime STEM

Unlike most of his peers, high school-student Manny Merino didn’t take a break in July. He spent the past four weeks studying math and engineering at Brooklyn Collegiate Academy.

“Right now, we’re working on our final project,” he said, pointing to a hexagon-shaped building model he and his team are putting together. Merino said that the construction is meant to support solar panels. “It produces energy for the building and for the surroundings,” he said.

In a nearby room, a girl was fixing her two-way radio, while further away, a boy was working on improving robots that play soccer.

Brooklyn Collegiate is one of 10 New York City schools that provide elementary, middle and high school children with free summer classes in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Divided in groups, students from 2nd to 10th grade have been working on various math and engineering assignments for the past four weeks from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The program ends Aug. 6. It’s funded by the city’s Education Department with help from Microsoft. The entire program costs $2 million.

Most of the students were “completely new” to STEM, said Mary Lawton, site supervisor for the STEM summer program, and assistant principal at Philippa Schuyler Middle School.

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