Source: Oak Ridge Today | Bob Fowler, Roane State Staff Writer | September 7, 2021

Roane State's Lab-in-a-Box program hits major milestone - Oak Ridge Today

Brothers Henry Kitts, left, and William Kitts help educators Britini Carter, left, and Nicole Hood as they assemble a robotics kit that’s part of the Lab-in-a-Box program administered by Roane State Community College. (Submitted photo)

Students were teaching the teachers to assemble complex robots as the Lab-in-a-Box program developed by Roane State Community College reached a major landmark. The occasion was the latest session of showing teachers from rural middle schools how to include the innovative kits to instruct their students in scientific principles of friction, fossils, and robotics.

“The more hands-on lessons students have, the more they can grasp the concept,” Rockwood Middle School teacher Bernard McMahon said.

The Lab-in-a-Box program evolved from an initiative 11 years ago by the East Tennessee Economic Council to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education in rural schools.

Roane State has been deeply involved in the program from its start. Faculty members developed the three kits, and each summer they introduce the components – contained in large plastic boxes – to area teachers.

Three siblings – Henry, William, and Elizabeth Kitts – members of the Secret City Wildbots Team 4265 from Oak Ridge, were recruited by Roane State Professor Sylvia Pastor to give the robotics instruction.

“We’ve reached a big milestone,” said Pastor, who each summer oversees the Lab-in-a-Box lessons for area teachers. “We’ve now put all three kits in all 27 rural schools involved in the program.”

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