Okaloosa Robotics Teams Participate in FIRST® Lego Robotics Kick-off at Kennedy Space Center

Okaloosa Robotics Teams at Kennedy Space Center

Robotics teams from across Okaloosa county attended the FIRST® (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology) Lego Robotics Kick-Off at the Kennedy Space Center. Teams from Bob Sikes Elementary School, Davidson Middle School, Pryor Middle School, Shoal River Middle School, and the STEMM Academy had the opportunity to participate in this eye-opening engineering experience. The students worked as a team to design, build, program, and compete with robots, all while working within time, budget, criteria, and constraints, for the problem theme, “Into Orbit.”

“This trip to the Kennedy Space Center provided an understanding for the challenges of deep space travel. The students are inspired and energized for the upcoming robotics season,” says Curt Palermo, Pryor Middle School coach.

Students were able to view, up close, exhibits and spacecraft that actually went into space, a once in a lifetime opportunity for some students. An additional aspect of the program was for the teams to identify and develop a solution to solve a human problem related to deep space travel. They presented and defended their solution to a panel of judges. Jennifer Kiel, coach of the STEMM Stingers, said, “It’s always exciting to see what our teams create for the project component. There is much more to this competition than just the robot. Students have to think, problem-solve, and create in every aspect of the competition.”

“Okaloosa County robotics teams are some of the best teams in the state,” stated coach Dottie Holland, Rockin’ Robots, Bob Sikes Elementary School. The team previously earned an invite to the FIRST® World Competition, and every year Okaloosa School District teams are invited to regional and state competitions. Teams work hard and apply creative problem-solving to raise funds for the program.

Laurie Allen, coach of Shoal River Robotics said, “We have done everything from running concession stands at events to hosting a 5K obstacle course mud run in Crestview. Our season encompasses the entire school year for the marketing, outreach, and fundraising aspects.”

This trip was made possible due to the generous support of the following community business partners: Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council, American Elite Molding, BJ Mitchell, Air Force Association Hurlburt 398 & Eglin 365, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, Radioactive Roaches FRC Team #2556, and the Doolittle Institute.