Crestview Middle School's VEX Robotics teams left a lasting impression at a robotics competition April 1 at Mineral Area College.
Seventh-grade Academic STRETCH teacher Dr. Robin Lady said Crestview robotics organizers decided to go with the VEX program, which is the type of robotics that goes along with Project Lead the Way curriculum.
"We did some fundraising with some non-profits and parents, and decided we were going to have 20 kids and two teams," said Lady. "The first day 70 showed up. After that I had 50, consistently, every day. We decided on five teams, had to do more fundraising, and competed April 1 at Mineral Area College. All five teams did well, and we won three awards, including the highest award."
Lady said the Hydrowaves won the highest award for excellence. The Techno Wizards won the award for robot design. The Circuit Breakers won the judge's award. Their competition included 44 high school teams.
Lady said in robotics, students learn programming, hands-on building, and how to follow a set of directions, with a focus on STEM.
"Our head mentor is an engineer," said Lady. "We also have high school robotics teams who come in and mentor these kids."
Sixth-grade student Zach Stockwell is on the team known as the Tech Hounds.
"We're learning how to problem solve with robots," said Stockwell. "I like the building, the programming and the teamwork."
Srushti Bhoyar is a seventh-grade student and a Circuit Breakers team member.
"It's nerve racking but not difficult," said Bhoyar. "We totally modified our robot and went for it."
Pooja Reddy is another seventh-grade student.
"The experience is a lot of fun," said Reddy. "I enjoy the dedication, going every week, building the robot and programming it."
Mentor Mandar Bhoyar is a senior at Marquette.
"Since they are a feeder school, if we prepare them early that helps us in the future. They are likely to go into high school robotics like we did," said Mandar.
Lady said over the school year, each team built three robots. The third one was the competitive robot they used at Mineral Area College.