In the spring of 2015, Bucky Gardner, the Computer Science Teacher at Hartselle High, invited me to chaperone the high school students at the University of Alabama Robotics Competition. His hopes were that I could form a team at the elementary level and allow his students to mentor them. I was immediately on board!
STEM education is the new buzz word in education. It is the marriage of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Computer programming encompasses all of the wonderful things that STEM education strives to teach. Students involved in coding and programming are so engaged that they often don't even realize they are learning.
Our robotics team consists of a group of fourth graders chosen based upon their coding skills, math proficiency, and overall behavior. These students chose to stay after school one day a week to learn the computer programming language in order to "talk" to a robot. In the spring, a team of five students is selected
to compete at the University of Alabama Robotics Competition. The competition consists of 3 challenges to be completed in 3 hours. Students in grades 3-12 all work on the same challenges with awards given at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels. Our 2016-2017 team placed third in the elementary division.