Brooke Taliman

Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM, is a fast-growing industry that brings innovation to the forefront and provides an outlet for students to improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Best of all, STEM allows students to experience team collaboration – especially when it comes to coding and robotics.

Brooke Taliman, educator at Elrod Elementary, sought an opportunity to build her STEM program from the ground up, in what would be the first year it was introduced to the school district. Thanks to Power of the Dollar® members, she was awarded a $1,000 grant in December 2022 for her “Coding and Robotics Galore” project and then she brought her innovation to life by using the funds to purchase coding resources and robotics gear, which includes STEM coding robots!

“I was looking for robots that would amp up the rigor a little bit,” Taliman said. “Within these [robots] you can actually have it go from screenless coding to introducing block coding. It was something that I wanted, especially with it being our first year and then having something that would have them feel like they could just take a chance and be able to jump into robotics.”

Students working with robots & mini mats

Working in groups, students are in the driver’s seat when it comes to programming and utilize computational thinking toward debugging and constructing coding sequences. Mini mats with colors allow the students to tell the robot where to go and gives them computer science knowledge in a way that has never been presented to them before. While the students are learning a newly innovated subject, honing communication skills, and developing a love for STEM, they are having tons of fun and continue to challenge themselves.

“Fostering that growth mindset in that we’re going to keep trying has been huge,” she said. “There’s a lot that they haven’t seen yet, which is exciting for me, too, knowing that there’s more to do still. There’s always next class. There’s always more to do next time. It’s been a blast.”

Looking to help local schools, invest in your community, and support educators like Brooke Taliman? Make a tangible, positive impact by joining the collective giving of our Power of the Dollar® membership. Learn more at, and together, we can create pathways that lead to better lives and stronger communities.