CES robotics team growing
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]
Gone are the days of kids playing Mattel’s Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots in their spare time. Now, students in grades 1 through 3 at Corydon Elementary School have taken it much further than a simple two-person robot game. The school has an entire robotics team comprised of first through third graders.
The team, which started during the 2017-18 school year, works together to take their robots through a series of obstacles and accomplish tasks across the playing field. Each year, the mission on the field changes and different elements are removed or added. This year’s game has challenged the students to move orange balls across the field and redeem points for various places the balls are dropped, some in a box, on top of a box or moving the box to the top of a structure and placing the balls inside it there.
The students at CES practice twice a week in the mornings and are coached and instructed by Angela Miller, a first-grade teacher at the school. After seeing a rising trend in students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, Miller realized it would only be beneficial for her students to be exposed to the field of robotics at a young age.
“I want these kids to be able to grow up and know that fields like robotics aren’t out of reach for them,” Miller said. “Giving them these different and unique fields to try out at such a young age will only help them realize that they can achieve anything they set their minds to and anything is possible.”
The program is part of a much larger state initiative to bring robotics into schools throughout Indiana. The objective of the State Robotics Initiative, created by TechPoint Foundation, a sponsor of Corydon Elementary’s robotics team, is to provide a hands-on, STEM learning opportunity to each Indiana student through an economical, entry-level robotics platform.
Prior to the State Robotics Initiative, Indiana had 72 elementary teams. One year after launching the SRI, the state now has 1,537 teams.
Miller explained that the kids are very quick to pick up on how the robots work, and even more impressive is how quick they are at making repairs or fixes to them.
“It’s amazing to watch these kids work on the robots,” Miller said. “If one breaks down or a part comes loose, they will all ban together to start to fix it. During the competitions we attend against other schools, the teams are required to make all the repairs themselves. We are still a very young team compared to other schools, but the kids have learned so much from watching how the other teams work together to repair the robots and compete. This program has been nothing but beneficial for them.”
The team is sponsored by TechPoint Foundation, Indiana Workforce Development, Guggenheim Life Annuity, Girl Powered- Indy Women in Tech, Duke Energy and Bob Bowman Construction.