Viking Robotics Awarded TVA Grant

Viking Robotics Awarded TVA Grant
Posted on 04/05/2024

Tennessee High School was recently chosen as one of 343 schools to receive a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc., a TVA retiree organization. This organization’s goal is to assist in developing science, technology, engineering, and math education programs for students that will inspire interest in STEM-related fields. Educators from across TVA’s seven-state region applied for grants of up to $5,000. These applications required educators to clearly explain and cite specific projects or programs they hoped to implement.

This grant will give the Tennessee High Robotics members and other students the opportunity to learn how to wire scientific sensors to a small computer called an Arduino. According to THS Science teacher Benji Lewis, “There are many prepacked scientific sensors which educators utilize in classroom experiments. While I currently employ these devices in physics labs, they can be costly.” Lewis says that he can teach students how to build similar devices for physics, biology, chemistry, and agriculture courses. 

Lewis adds, "Incorporating these student-built, DIY devices in science classrooms will show students what is possible with STEM and the opportunities in robotics. Agriculture, biology, and chemistry classes will benefit from pH meters and temperature sensors while physics courses will benefit from motion detectors and force sensors. Viking Robotics is free to join, and club members are not required to have programming experience. Furthermore, learning how to write software that reads, stores, and displays various sensor data will be advantageous in their robotics competitions, such as the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) competition."

Members of Viking Robotics are helping set up and complete initial designs of the scientific instruments this semester. The next phase will be to offer mini lessons on electric circuits, soldering wire, and software coding during Viking Robotics club meetings and Viking Time, which is homeroom at Tennessee High. The mini lessons will be open to any interested student. The grant project will continue throughout the 2024-2025 school year.

Schools who are awarded grants must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA. Tennessee High is served by Bristol Tennessee Essential Services.

“TVA is committed to supporting schools and educators who are inspiring an interest in STEM education in students across the Valley, as we know our young people will design and build the energy systems of the future,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “Providing resources and access to STEM education is key to inspiring innovation and we’re proud to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $6 million in STEM grants to support local education.

A full list of grant recipients and information on how to apply for a future STEM grant can be found at

Viking Robotics Awarded TVA Grant
 Joseph Burriss Illustrates the Grant's Purpose

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