A new club will be available only to eight lucky students in each elementary school.
The Robotics Club has already started meeting at Eastfield Global Magnet School this month.
Students at EGMS were nominated by teachers and four fourth- and four fifth-graders began robotics programming during the last week of school. The program comes from Cyberkids Robotics and is being used in classrooms all over the state.
“As part of our involvement with them, they provide the robot, software and a coach that will come to all of our meetings in September,” said Robotics Club Facilitator Stella Brewer.
Club members have already put together their robot provided by Lego Mindstorms, and named it “Allison Jeff Taco.” Their team name is Animatronics. Now, they are preparing their T-shirts, banners and wooden platform before they start receiving their missions.
“The students use Lego Mindstorms materials to build and program a robot to accomplish required missions based on our animal theme. The kids will research their mission, come up with a presentation and design their robot to do the mission. It will be different for every team based on their own ideas,” said Brewer.
For example, Brewer said, when she was in charge of a similar club at Nebo Elementary that lost funding, they got a mission based on climate change.
“The mission had icebergs on one end, mountains on the other, and the bot would have to lift trash out of the iceberg and take it to the recycling area. You want to do it in the least amount of moves as possible,” she said.
Nine-year-old Revan Gouge explained to the McDowell News how the group programmed the robot.
“It’s got a thing on the top and you are able to plug a wire in the top and you program on the computer and then we send it to the brain. Then we unplug it and then press the buttons on the brain and then it does what we program it to do. The brain makes it do whatever it does. We just have to program it to the brain and poof it works. I hope to add more parts to it,” he said.
The robot can go forward, backward, and do pivot and progressive turns.
“We have been practicing on trying to pick stuff up with it. We have had a lot of fails,” said Gouge.
“It’s been hard trying to do it,” Patrick Westmoreland said. “We tried to do a 360 and it actually worked.”
Harper Webb, 10, said the robot had programming already installed.
“There is one where it moved forward and did a little dance and came back. I also hope we can build a ramp for it, to go up and across the platform because I think it would really help,” she said.
Brewer said the parents are also really excited about this program for their children.
“They feel like it will help them express themselves more freely and creatively and to use their math skills, thinking skills and computer skills,” she said, “Eventually when we are ready to compete, we will have practiced not only science, technology, engineering and math, but we will have practiced writing, public speaking, music and art.”
All of the details of the Robotics Club and their missions have not yet been released, but we do know that all of McDowell County elementary schools will compete against each other in December.
For more information, visit http://cyberkidsrobotics.com.