More than 150 students from 17 elementary and middle schools, along with teachers and parents, gathered Saturday at Lamar High School for Games Robots Play, a real-time Robotics Challenge Day.
Games Robots Play is designed, built, and managed as a semester-long project by Waltrip HS students, who also serve as mentors and referees during the event and are overseen by the CTE teacher, Stephanie Witherspoon.
This educational real-time robotics challenge is not a contest, but a format for students to grow in robotics skills, problem-solving, computational thinking and teamwork. The event challenges student teams to test their robotic mettle in a series of games modeled after real athletic events such as hurdles, discus, football and golf. Participants are given hints about the games prior to the event, but only see them for the first time when they arrive. After an introduction to each game, students spend time strategizing, building, programming, and playing the games. Certificates are awarded for many categories such as creative solutions, brainstorming, teamwork, innovative robot design, and robotic performance.
New this year was a teacher division, which provided robotics professional development for teachers in the STEM TIF4 grant schools. STEM teacher development specialists were on hand to serve as teacher mentors and “walk around judges” during the day.
The invitational event was co-sponsored by Waltrip High School and the Innovative Curriculum Department for the TIF4 STEM grant schools and others that have traditionally participated for the past seven years.
Click through the photo gallery to see the students and their robots in action.