It's National Robotics Week, and we are celebrating with this bonus sticker (above) that is going in every order all month long. Robotics is changing the way we live, and automation in some form is improving a variety of business and industries. The little-known fact about robotics is that this discipline has created new ways to educate children how to problem solve. With companies like VEX Robotics creating the tools, and schools like Westview Middle School here in Longmont implementing them into after school robotics programs, there is now a whole new way for kids to gain new skills while engaging in the spirit of competition.
Students are building their own VEX robots and programming them to get ready for big competitions while bringing some stickers along for the ride.
Westview Middle School has built up a Competitive Robotics Team over the last few years and now find themselves attending the U.S. Open Robotics Challenge on an annual basis. This is a super exciting program because it challenges the students to not only think through problems, but also, trains them on a lot of different communication skills. The kids in the program get split up into teams with the challenge of designing and programming a robot to compete in a game. As they go through this process, they have to learn to work together and come up with solutions to problems as they arise.
"The Westview Robotics program is continuing to grow and become very successful in the state of Colorado," said Daniel Hernandez, Westview's Computer Science & Robotics Teacher. "This year we have 7 Competitive Teams comprised of 28 - 7th and 8th graders and have already qualified 3 Teams to represent Westview at the Colorado State Tournament (against HS teams) and the U.S. Open Robotics CREATE Nationals." Westview also ran a 6th grade robotics club involving 35 students and three 6th grade teams of 12 students that is already working alongside the main teams.
After the kids put in the work to compete, they also go out and present to sponsors to seek donations to their robotics teams so they can travel to these competitions and get the tools needed to run the program. We were fortunate enough to be pitched by the Westview Robotics team. The students were so impressive in what they had put together that we sponsored them for the U.S. Open Robotics Challenge and made sure they had custom stickers to represent their school and individual team names.
The Westview Robotics team competed hard in the U.S. Open Robotics Challenge just last week and walked away with an experience they will never forget.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." - Nelson Mandela