GBEMS students participate in Lego robot competition
Seven Green Bank Elementary-Middle School students spent a semester learning about robots and preparing for the First Lego League competition in Fairmont.
Science teacher Anne Smith received a grant from NASA which provided materials, as well as student training by Todd Ensign.
“He came and taught several of the students how to do it,” Smith said. “We had an after-school robotics club. These are the ones that came every day, unless they were absent. They were really dedicated.”
Each year, the competition has a mission the students must program their robot to perform.
“This year the mission was Senior Solutions, so the kids had – in addition to doing their robotics – to interview elderly people and find something that elderly people might need to help them in their life.”
The obstacle course includes up to 20 tasks the students could make their robot complete Because of time constraints, the team selected three tasks to perform.
“You have two-and-a-half minutes to do as many as you can, so it took a long time,” Smith said.
The students took to the robots like fish to water, and Smith said they didn’t need much help from her.
“I don’t know how to do it,” she said. “I’ve tried. I’ve been to these trainings. I think it’s really cool; I just can’t get it. They were amazing. There’s no fighting; there’s no arguing.”
Smith said she plans to continue the robot club and make it a year-long after-school program.
“What I plan to do next year, if I get the money from Snowshoe [Foundation] is to have enough [robots], because you can’t teach a class with just two,” she said. “If I had enough, I could do this as a week-or two-week class with different grades. They could learn how to program it and practice on the mat.”
The FLL competition is open to students seventh through 12th grade, so Smith said her eighth grade students can come back to the club next year.
Along with the grant money Smith received, the team was given support by the Green Bank PTO, which made team shirts for the students and also paid their entry fee into the competition.
Members of the team were: seventh grade students Jacob Hise, Tiler Smith, Gus Foe, Henry Dillon-Whitehead and Max Schebek; and eighth grade students Caleb Mullenax and Grace Schebek.
Results from this year’s competition have not been released. The team went up against 56 teams from across the state and are looking forward to the next robot challenge.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org