Premier Partner in Education

In March of 2019, Country Partners Cooperative proudly announced its Premier Partner support of the ESU 10 / Dawson Public Power District’s Mid-Nebraska Makerspace Lab (MNM Lab). This STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) mobile lab is now available for public and private school use in the ESU 10 service territory covering 8 Nebraska counties: Buffalo, Dawson, Garfield, Greeley, Hall, Howard, Sherman and Valley.

The lab brings a hands-on educational opportunity to schools to encourage students to explore STEM applications in 10 stations.  Country Partners sponsors the Make an Impact station, which offers lessons about programming and using remotely controlled machines such as drones or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and land rovers.  Students program the UAV or rover through either a computer program or an app for a mobile device, such as a cell phone.

Watch a Successful Drone Flight – Lexington Middle School
Watch the Rover Driven through a Cell Phone App – Cozad High School

To date, schools in communities where Country Partners has assets and personnel that have used the MNM Lab include Lexington Middle School and Cozad High School.  Riverside High School in Spalding is set to have the trailer on-site in late February into early March.  Cozad Middle School has reserved the lab for late April into early May.

The response from students and school staff alike who have worked in the MNM lab has been nothing but positive.  Students enjoy the opportunity to learn in such a “real” environment.  Students log their work in each station in a lab notebook.  They note their successes and failures, helpful hints and leave general comments.  Some students’ notes include:

  •  “I attached a camera and programmed it to go around the school. You can make the (rover) change colors and even talk to you through the app. Overall this lab was fantastic!”
  • “It was incredible. I learned how to drive a rover!”
  • “I coded the (rover) to go forward, then spin and turn, then drive again.”

Erin Hanna, Media Specialist at Lexington Middle School, noted, “It’s rare to work in a classroom where absolutely every student is on-task, but in the MNM Lab it’s a quieter, busier environment with each student involved in one of the stations.”

“We’re hopeful that the MNM Lab will encourage students to explore the many career opportunities available right here in their hometowns in science and technology. Agricultural practices are quickly evolving with electronic advancements and technology. We’re proud to support this project to help prepare students for careers in the future of the ag industry,” said Country Partners CEO Tod Clark.

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