Students worked in teams to design and build a robot. They also used a computer program that allowed their robots to complete specific tasks. The robots, built from Legos, are part of the First Lego League organization.
The team, called the Poplin Robotics Stench Bots, has done quite well statewide (considering this is its first year of existence), winning a second-place in the research category among 69 other teams.
“We were some of the youngest to compete. It was mostly middle school students competing.”
- Heather Gasiecki, Poplin Elementary Team Coach
The team, which had been preparing for competition since the spring of 2010, competed regionally in December and statewide on Jan. 29, 2011, in Greensboro.
Gasiecki brought the idea of the robotics team to Poplin Elementary after being introduced to a similar team at Sun Valley Middle School. “My daughter was on the Sun Valley Middle team last year and I loved it,” she said. “Since UCPS is trying to be as global and technologically forward as possible, I felt like now would be a good time.”
Gasiecki’s hope is that the team’s experiences will fuel an interest in science and technology for the participants. “This will open up horizons and allow students to understand that there is more to science than just looking into a microscope,” she said.
Fifth grader Karlee Schmidt, 11, said she likes that solving the various problemsmakes her think outside the box. “It challenges my mind,” she said. “It’s a challenge to find the solutions to these problems. And I get to meet so many smart people in this school who I didn’t know.”
Team mom Linda Torres, who is there to support her 10-year-old grandson, Alex Valdivia, said she has been impressed by how much the activities have forced students to research solutions, thus stimulating their thinking skills.
“The robotics team can help them go out and look for answers to problems,” Torres said. “It will help them to be problem solvers.”
The next step for the Poplin Elementary robotics team will be to compete against other Union County Public School robotics’ teams at the March 19, 2011, competition at Weddington Middle School.
This article was provided courtesy of the Communications Office of the Union County Public Schools.
2011 Union County, NC