Fri. Dec 1st, 2023
    “Barkell Elementary School to Host Innovative VEX Robotics Competitions”

    Barkell Elementary School is gearing up for an exciting event as it prepares to host its first-ever VEX Robotics competitions. The competition is set to take place at the Hancock High School gymnasium on Saturday, November 4 at noon. This event is not only open to other schools but also to the public, making it a must-see for technology enthusiasts and STEM supporters.

    Last year, Barkell Elementary started its robotics team, which saw great success despite being formed halfway through the season. However, the team had to travel downstate to compete, which presented its own challenges. This year, Barkell Elementary aims to bring the competitions closer to home by hosting a series of four VEX IQ Robotics competitions for elementary and middle school students.

    VEX IQ Robotics is a fascinating system that allows students to build highly functional robots using plastic, snap-together pieces. The system is designed to be user-friendly and no prior knowledge of robotics is required. This opens up the world of robotics to a wider range of students and encourages their interest in STEM fields early on.

    Under the guidance of Genevieve Nordmark, the elementary STEM teacher and VEX IQ Robotics coach, Barkell Elementary has formed four teams comprising 19 students. Notably, one of the teams is composed entirely of girls, highlighting the diverse participation in STEM at the school. Nordmark expressed her hope that more schools will join the competitions to increase the excitement and competitiveness for all participants.

    The VEX IQ Robotics competitions involve a competition field with three score zones located in different corners. The teams are tasked with designing and constructing robots capable of picking up blocks and moving them into the score zones for points. This challenge not only requires the students to build the robots but also to program them to perform specific tasks.

    Coding, an essential aspect of robotics, enables students to provide instructions to the robots. It is through coding that the robots can interpret and follow the commands given to them. By engaging in robotics, students gain hands-on experience in electronics, mechanics, and programming, fostering their interest and understanding of STEM subjects.

    The VEX Robotics competitions provide an excellent platform for students to learn and grow, both individually and as a team. They develop problem-solving skills, learn the value of teamwork, and gain the ability to face and overcome challenges. While Nordmark serves as a coach, her role is to provide resources, guidance, and facilitate research, allowing the students to take ownership of their learning and robot-building process.

    As Barkell Elementary School gets ready to host the VEX Robotics competitions, anticipation is building within the school and the broader community. This event is a testament to the dedication of the students and their teachers to explore innovative approaches to education and inspire a passion for robotics, technology, and STEM-learning.


    Q: What is VEX Robotics?

    VEX Robotics is an educational robotics program that allows students to design, build, and code robots to complete specific tasks. It provides hands-on learning opportunities in STEM fields and fosters creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork skills.

    Q: How does coding relate to robotics?

    Coding, or computer programming, is an essential aspect of robotics. It involves creating a set of instructions that a robot can interpret and follow. Through coding, students can control the actions and movements of their robots, making them perform specific tasks.

    Q: What is STEM-based learning?

    STEM-based learning refers to an educational approach that focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It aims to integrate these subjects and provide students with hands-on experiences and critical thinking skills necessary for success in these fields.

    Q: How does participating in robotics benefit students?

    Participating in robotics competitions offers numerous benefits to students. It helps develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. It also exposes students to real-world applications of STEM concepts and encourages their interest in pursuing careers in these fields.

    Q: How can other schools get involved in VEX Robotics competitions?

    Other schools interested in participating in VEX Robotics competitions can reach out to the VEX Robotics organization or check for local events and tournaments in their area. Additionally, they can explore opportunities to start their own robotics teams and engage in friendly competitions with other schools.