Grant Funds Middle School Robotics Competition at HPU

HIGH POINT, N.C., Feb. 22, 2017 – Local middle school students are taking part in High Point University’s first Robotics Competition, thanks to a grant from Daimler Trucks North America and Thomas Built Buses.

Johnson Street Global Studies, Ledford Middle School, Jamestown Middle School and Immaculate Heart of Mary Middle School have two teams per school in the competition, which is designed to prepare the next generation of STEM leaders. The program includes four robotics challenges held monthly on the HPU campus. HPU’s School of Education students create, lead and judge each competition as part of their STEM master’s work.

Teams received a technology and robotics kit in January when the first competition kicked off by challenging students to build a base for their robot. The event continues with three more challenges, to be held 4-8 p.m. on Feb. 23, March 30 and April 20 at the School of Education and Webb Conference Center, as teams are challenged to grow and evolve their robot.

“I enjoy being on the team because I love how we do each task. We do them with teamwork,” says 13-year-old Sarahi Martinez Galvan from Ferndale Middle School. “We don’t argue or complain. We listen to each other’s ideas that turn out to help us a lot. We are open-minded with each other and have fun.”

Their teachers have gotten in on the fun, too, with robotics training last semester.

“It has been an amazing experience for Ferndale Middle School so far,” says Krista Hannah, a teacher at Ferndale. “Our children have opportunities to utilize their math reasoning and problem-solving skills, explore the world of robotics and programing, and develop their abilities to work as a team in order to set and accomplish goals. We are grateful to be able to participate in this program. It has allowed us to provide the Lego Education experience to a diverse group of students who may not have had the opportunity otherwise.”

Teaching students to learn STEM concepts through creative methods such as LEGO robotics helps battle the creativity crisis in America, according to Dr. Shirley Disseler, associate professor of education.

“Engaging students in the creative process through robotics is key for all students, and this event is proof positive that it matters,” said Dr. Shirley Disseler, associate professor of education and STEM education program coordinator. “Watching the faces of the students during their first challenge was evidence that we are meeting a need for the schools that would not otherwise have funding or access to these resources.”   

Challenge Schedule:

Feb. 23 4 p.m.-6 p.m. in the HPU School of Education.

Mar. 30 4 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Webb Conference Center.

Apr. 20 4 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Webb Conference Center.

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