Elementary and middle school students traveled to Salisbury over the weekend to participate in a competition and they brought home several awards for their efforts.
The six teams that made the trip for the Brick Master State Level Competition had to earn their spots at a local competition on May 6 called RoboVANCE. That’s right, this competition is for students who design, create and compete using robotics.
“Robotics in Vance County Schools have been in design for the last three years,” said Destiney Ross-Putney, VCS director of instruction and innovation. District leaders wanted to provide opportunities for elementary, middle and high school students to learn about robotics, whether in an after-school Legos club or through a high school elective or an extracurricular group.
School officials opened it up at the beginning of the year and Ross-Putney said they were “blown away” by the number of students who showed interest.
Some schools had multiple teams, who met weekly with coaches/advisors to work on the coding and design of the creations.
The adult advisors didn’t necessarily have a background in coding or robotics; rather, they coached the students in problem-solving and working together as a team to complete their projects. The program is completely student-centered, Ross-Putney explained.
“We want to give them experiences that prepare them for the future,” said Aarika Sandlin, VCS communications coordinator.
The Salisbury competition was for elementary and middle schoolers and VCS sent six teams who advanced from the local competition, which included nine K-2 teams, 17 3-5 teams and five 6-8 teams.
The teams who traveled to Salisbury were the Zeb Vance Magical RobotZ, the Carver Electric Eagles, the Dabney Rockets, the VCMS Master Tech Builders, the STEM Card Sharks 3, the STEM Card Sharks and the L.B. Yancey Robotics #1.
The Dabney Rockets won first for elementary coding and the STEM Card Sharks #3 – an all girls team – won the coding competition for its grade level.
For the robotics portion of the competition, teams had four assignments, along with a mystery task. Students had to program their robots to complete a variety of challenges with scenarios that were based on alternative energy sources. VCMS Master Tech Builders took 4th place at the competition for the middle school division.
School leaders couldn’t be happier at the results, especially for the first time ever competing at this level.
“Our robotics program has been hard work since the beginning of this school year, with both staff and students meeting and practicing weekly.” Ross-Putney said. “To watch these programs develop from the ground up and take state level recognition is a testament to their commitment to problem solving and teamwork.”
Parents and students can learn more about RoboVANCE for next year during the August Open House.