• Amazon and Renaissance Jax team up to get local middle school students excited about STEM

    By: Courtney Cole , Action News Jax


    Amazon is joining the push to get more local students into the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.

    On Wednesday, a group of students was introduced to robots and learned how to use them at the company’s fulfillment center.

    Action News Jax's Courtney Cole showed us how Camp Amazon works and how it is preparing children for the future.

    On Wednesday afternoon, 75 students from John E. Ford Middle School found out just how much fun the world of STEM can be.

    Amazon donated $25,000 and teamed up with Renaissance Jax to create Camp Amazon.

    Renaissance Jax is a nonprofit dedicated to exposing local children and teens to the interesting world of STEM.

    It’s the first program of its kind in Florida. The pilot program for the camp began in Seattle.

    Students learned how to program robot, but more importantly, they learned that the skills they’re developing now could mean infinite possibilities for their future.

    Tywan Allen, a seventh-grader at John E. Ford Middle School, said his experience with the robots opened him up to a new world and made him want to learn even more.

    "When you learn new things, it inspires you to do better and work at stuff like that. I might be struggling in math, but at the same time, I have to learn, just like with the robot, how to work things, figure out how to make it better."

    Jonisha Robinson, a sixth-grader at John E. Ford Middle School said this experience showed her and her classmates the practical application of what they're learning in their math and science classes.

    "We had to use solutions and numbers to see how the speed would be to make the robot move,” Robinson said.

    But the learning doesn't stop here.

    Five of the robotic kits the students used today, as well as the laptops, are coming back to the school with the students.

    The equipment will give them the opportunity to hone their skills and prepare for a Lego League competition in the fall.

    "I hope that you will take it to heart and learn from what you’ve done today, because this can be life-altering for you,” said Tina Bennett, the principal of John E. Ford Middle School.

    For more information about Renaissance Jax, click here.

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