Local middle school students recently participated in the school district’s first Robo Bowl robotics competition, designed to inspire greater interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Each school’s robotics club participated in the competition, which gives students a chance to test their robot designs before attending official VEX Robotics events in the fall.
Twelve schools in Long Beach have begun offering robotics classes to sixth, seventh and eighth graders using the VEX Robotics design platform. Bancroft, Hamilton, Hill, Hughes, Jefferson, Lindbergh, Lindsey, Powell K-8, Rogers, Stanford, Stephens, and Washington middle schools offer elective classes during or after school. Nearly 300 students participated in the clubs in recent months.
The recent competition was held at Westerly School in Long Beach and was hosted by class members from the Leadership Long Beach Institute Class of 2013. Keynote Speaker Tatangla Coleman, the Technical Lead for Mission Readiness Programs at Raytheon, focused on STEM career options in robotics. The Long Beach Police Department’s SWAT Team also demonstrated their remote controlled Bomb Detection Robot.
Awards went to the top four performing schools, which also received funding for spare parts, software and robotics equipment. Lindbergh earned first place, Hill earned second, and Powell and Hughes tied for third. Sponsorships for the awards were provided by the Josephine S. Gumbiner Foundation, Signal Hill Petroleum and the Long Beach Police Officers Association.
In this first year of the middle school robotics program, members of Leadership Long Beach attended robotics training, volunteered on middle school campuses and provided the students presentations on STEM college majors.
All 12 of the participating schools will offer robotics classes for the 2013-14 school year. Starting in September, Marshall Academy of the Arts will join in offering the VEX robotics program. The school district plans for all 13 schools to be ready to compete in an official VEX Robotics event in December.