LAURINBURG — Hoping to inspire the next great innovator or just a love of technology, Scotland County Schools held the second annual Robotics Showcase.
More than 70 students and parents filled the gym at Scotland High School to use robots to collaborate on how different ideas can get the same task done.
Robotic teams were represented by students from Covington Street Elementary, North Laurinburg Elementary, Wagram Elementary, Laurel Hill Elementary, I. Ellis Johnson Elementary, South Scotland Elementary, Sycamore Lane Elementary, Spring Hill Middle, Carver Middle and Scotland High School.
Superintendent Ron Hargrave said he was impressed with the students explanations of how they got their robots to function.
“The most wonderful thing that I’ve seen robotics do is build a team and help teach collaboration and being patient,” Hargrave said. “When you see kids working, the communication piece has to be there and even at the elementary age that’s a beautiful thing to see is kids working together to accomplish a goal.”
School officials said STEM- related careers expected to grow more than nine million 2022, and the robotic competition provided students with an opportunity to learn the skills that will make them competitive in their academic and work careers after graduation.
At the elementary level the students create their own tracks and programmed their robots to successfully go through it, while at the middle school level they are given a track and challenges that they must program their robot to go through.
Both the elementary and middle schools are focused on the logic and programming, but the students didn’t have to create robots from scratch while the high school team was given the task of building robots from scratch.
The high school team, known as the Scotbotics, also had a chance to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship. The local team left Wednesday for Houston with the event finishing up today.
The championship included thousands of students from across the United States as well as China, Australia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Israel.
The high school team is made up of freshman Chishaud McLeod, sophomores Ajana Anderson and Renetrice Jacobs, and juniors Jordan Goldson and Eli Herring.
“When you go to the different competitions and you see how students tackled the same challenges in completely different ways. The students get to see the creativity among others,” said Kevin Combs the coach for the high school’s team. “They’re going to have a wide range of knowledge on how to tackle the challenges based on what they saw. It’s something that has become not a chore or a job it’s become a passion.”
Combs wants to start a district robotics project that will allow all the students in different age groups to participate in together. The project will be on different Saturdays where there will be different competitions that those who come can work together on.
While the team was made up of only five people this year, Combs believes that there could be multiple teams in upcoming years. There are already 25 students on a wait list to join the team in the fall, not including upcoming freshman.
“The elementary school are really starting on the logic and the programming side of it thinking of how do I get something to accomplish a task,” Combs you get to the senior high level you now have to incorporate the actual building and the physics of the mechanism.”
Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-506-3171