Actress supports Wells Elementary School classroom’s unique tech request

Post date: Mar 23, 2016 10:59:13 AM

On March 10th, Wells Elementary School Technology teacher Marty Cryer received a donation from actress and Portland native, Anna Kendrick (The Twilight Saga, Up in the Air) as part of the DonorsChoose #BestSchoolDay crowd-funding campaign. Kendrick donated $570 for the purchase of a hive of 6 Bee-Bots or computer coding robots and accessories for Cryer’s computer lab classroom at Wells Elementary School.

At the same time, Kendrick chose to fund 30 other school projects at schools in Maine as part of a flash mob of 58 celebrities, athletes and philanthropists who paid out a combined total of $14 million in a day to fund half of all educational projects from 11,000 classrooms listed on DonorsChoose, ( an educational crowd-funding organization.

Although Cryer had previously raised $270 for this purchase from friends, relatives and visitors to her Facebook page, she still lacked hundreds more. So, like many other educators these days, Cryer turned to the Internet and listed her request on DonorsChoose, which prominently states on its website, “Support a classroom. Build a future.”

“Students absolutely love coding,” commented Cryer. “I regularly have students ask when they can do it again. With the Bee-Bots, they are using an amazing array of thinking skills to practice academic skills. The robots are cute and a lot of fun to use. Students learn so much, but don’t even realize it!” Along with the Bee-Bots, Cryer’s classroom will receive a carrying case and a charging pod for all six units.

For those not familiar with the concept, a “Bee-Bot is an exciting new robot designed for use by young children. This colorful, easy-to-operate, and friendly little robot is a perfect tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, problem-solving, and just having fun!” (source:

“Computer coding requires students to use many math, reading, writing, and high level problem-solving and thinking skills all at the same time,” summed up Cryer. “Combining coding with robotics takes students even further.”

An illustration of a group of Bee-Bots.