Students test their robotic skills
Armuchee Middle students test their robotic skills
Posted on 03/15/2013
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Teens are known for their skill with video games. They are adept at moving a virtual character through a maze of obstacles on a video screen.  Beth Wardlaw, technology teacher at Armuchee Middle School, wanted to test the student's talents by challenging them to pilot an actual robot in a robotics competition.  Armuchee sixth and seventh graders assembled and programmed robots to compete in the school competition.  The students worked in groups of three to build 16 robots for the event. The robots are piloted using a controller similar to what the students would use on their Xbox games at home and programmed to compete in a ball toss, relay race and ball stack competition. 

The middle school students not only battled for school pride but they were also to preparing for a robotic competition in May at the Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy.  "This class was started in cooperation with the robotics and engineering program at the College and Career Academy," stated Beth Wardlaw. "We hope that exposing the students to robotics in middle school will encourage more to explore the program at the College and Career Academy and possibly as a career after school."  

Wardlaw has not been disappointed in the response of students at Armuchee Middle.  She started with the opportunity for students to sign-up to join a Technology Student Association (TSA) and the response was so great that she incorporated the robotics into her technology class.  "The student response was amazing to me," Wardlaw said. "I think we had 52 students sign-up initially and it continues to grow in popularity."  The students began working on their robots in January using manuals accessed on computer to assemble the thousands of pieces that go into making up each robot.  The students then used a computer to program the robots to compete in the events featured in the robotic competition.

The Armuchee Middle competition lasted for several days during the sixth and seventh-grade technology class periods.  The winners were announced just before the Intersession break.   There was a winning team for each grade level and an overall champion was crowned.  The sixth-grade winning team was the Technacorns.  Sixth-graders on the team were:  Kenta Davis, Brooke Dellis, and Baleigh Ditton.  The seventh-grade winning team was the Robowolves.  Team members included: Reed Blackmon, Victoria Reese, and Karson Fallin.  The seventh-grade Robowolves were the overall champions of the robotic competition.