Godfrey-Lee — In Melissa Donovan’s classroom at Lee Middle School, three students known as The Prototypes prepared their robot for a skills challenge.
At the sound of a timer’s horn, seventh-grader Remington “Remy” Holmes began driving the robot, built by him and teammates Eric Garcia-Heredia and Juan Madrigal. He maneuvered it through a replica battlefield to knock over a tower of plastic orange discs.
“In a skills challenge, one robot tries to score as many points as possible by pushing the discs into the goal zone,” Eric explained.
After placing fourth at the Michigan state championship at Kettering University in February, The Prototypes are currently competing at the VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas.
They are the first team from Lee Middle School to qualify for the world competition.
“Our robotics club meets after school once a week and students are able to work together to design creative and innovative solutions to solve problems,” said Donovan, the robotics coach and seventh-grade STEAM teacher. “They develop teamwork skills as they work together towards a common goal.”
The common goal for The Prototypes and their peers is to build, design, and code a robot ready for competition.
“This team is pretty good at strategizing and collaborating with other teams during challenges,” the coach said.
Fixing Problems, Finding Solutions
Several Lee teams competed throughout the year; one other team, The Wolverines, competed at the state level with The Prototypes.
“Lee Middle School sends teams with a lot of diversity and teams with a lot of female students,” Donovan said. “It’s been a great season. The kids all worked so hard.”
Participating in robotics helps her students develop technical skills in computer programming, mechanics and engineering, which are necessary for future careers in STEAM fields, she added.
Part of the competition requires students to code their robots to complete tasks without a driver. Eric said they learned how to code their robot as they went along and he enjoyed learning how it all worked.
“It’s fun to drive the robot and we learned that sometimes, things break and you have to figure out how to fix it,” Remy said.
With a full season of practice and competitions behind them, The Prototypes are relishing the opportunity to bring their skills to the world competition.
“Worlds (brings) teams from all over the world, different countries, languages and skill levels,” Donovan said. “I think they’ll do great.”
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