Robotics Lab Added to Discovery Museum Science and Space Center

The Discovery Museum Science & Space Center is launching a $200,000 robotics lab that will become an integral part of the center’s new digs along the banks of the Sacramento River.

The robotics lab has been designed to encourage education in science, technology, engineering and math as well as teamwork and management skills. It will be unveiled on Feb. 23 at the Discovery Museum.

It is the first program created with the center’s future home in mind. The museum will become the Powerhouse Science and Space Center when its new home is ready in 2013. The Robotics Lab will offer full-class, hands-on robotics programming for up to 36 students; an after school robotics club; and competitive robotics teams for students 9-14, whose schools may not have their own teams.

“The opening of the Discovery Museum's robotics lab is a major step forward in creating the new Powerhouse Science and Space Center,” Sacramento City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy said in a news release. She was a leader in finding the funding for the lab’s costs and fees.

“Offering robotics programs will guarantee that more students develop a love of science and technology,” Beth Callahan, Discovery Museum director of development and marketing, said in the release. “The students who are motivated by robotics are more likely to become the scientists, innovators, and inventors of tomorrow.”

The museum is the result of cumulative contribution from many generous donors. Otto Construction in Sacramento donated a temporary structure to house the lab. AT&T Inc. paid for the LEGO Mindstorm Education robotics hardware. Hewlett-Packard Co. donated laptop computers; and Rotary of Sacramento painted the walls. Intel Corp. engineers and software experts from Synergex International Corp., meanwhile, are volunteering their time and expertise to help the museum staff develop curriculum and lesson plans.

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