Searingtown Elementary School’s Robotics Club recently held its first ever competition for fifth-graders after school. Using Lego Mindstorms kits, students configured their robots to navigate a maze filled with obstacles. After spending significant time building and exploring their robots this school year under the instruction of club advisors Christine Alden and Lauren Pearsall, the students learned to program the machines to complete missions.
Working collaboratively as well as individually, the club members solved problems, determined ways to approach challenges and discovered the most effective techniques through trial and error. Through iPads and Bluetooth technology, they programmed their robots to move through the course and work around various twists and turns using speed controls, wheel rotations and direction guides. A number of adjustments and re-programming steps were taken before the robots were put to the final test.
The first place winning team went by the title, KHAMP, which represents the first names of all five members. Kaylee Luo, Heemali Patel, Adel Bakovic, Maria Gamboa and Preston Chan accepted their top awards, and the four other contending groups received medals and acknowledgments as well.
Prior to the competition, students from Herricks High School visited Searingtown and mentored the fifth-graders to provide them with additional support and preparation. Robotics ties in with the STEAM components that are emphasized district-wide.
Robotics kits are available at Center Street and Denton Avenue schools as well, and all three elementary buildings provide opportunities for students to engage in learning through this equipment.