Barnes & Noble and the Copperas Cove Public Library hosted a science, technology, engineering and mathematics research seminar Tuesday, welcoming children from First Place Learning Academy and Stepping Stone Child Development Center. Families from surrounding communities also attended.

More than 45 children asked questions and learned while playing with various robot games brought to the seminar by Rick Martinez, the community business development manager at Barnes & Noble.

“We are here to support schools in their goals and help them and their students reach their potential,” Martinez said. “We are not only here to sell schools books. We are here to partner with schools in the community to help them reach their goals because the children are our future. We want people to associate STEM and literature with Barnes & Noble.”

The Barnes & Noble STEM program has operated for a year and a half. This collaboration has seen growth from partnering schools and libraries reaching out for these events to take place within their campus.

At this year’s event, children were given the opportunity to put together motors and switches, learn how robots sense colors, and how robots are coded.

“Technology is becoming more and more pervasive in our everyday lives. We have the internet of things, the IOT movement,” Martinez said, referring to a rising tech movement. “We are seeing the technology in the simplest of things: from our toasters to our refrigerators. And (in) any job students have nowadays, technology will be a major component.

Teachers, parents and enthusiastic students in attendance asked multiple questions about what each robot did.

The volunteers, including Martinez, were all too eager to answer questions and demonstrate technology.

“Kids learn by touching and asking questions and seeing how it works,” said Darci Ramos, a teacher at Stepping Stone CDC.

Ramos said each seminar turns the light bulb on for children to think about STEM in a different light, a sentiment a fellow teacher shared.

“I look forward to bringing the children here,” said Rhonda Stofferahn, a teacher at First Place Learning Academy. “They were excited to see how the robots work,”

Kameren Jones, a student of First Place Learning Academy, was excited to see how iPads are able to communicate with robots in order to go specific places.

“I need to get one,” Kameren said.

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