District Hosts Second Annual Okaloosa RoBotic Invitational Tournament 

Students in 4th – 8th grade from nine teams came together on Saturday, May 9, 2015, for the district’s second Okaloosa RoBotic Invitational Tournament (ORBIT), which was held at the Okaloosa STEMM Center. 

In this competition, students programmed their Lego Mindstorms robots to autonomously accomplish five different missions that included Drag Race, Ball Pickup, Ball shoot, Maze, and Step Climber.  Students had the opportunity to attempt each event up to nine times throughout the day.

The teams that competed were: Okaloosa STEMM Academy, Ruckel Middle School, Pryor Middle School, Mary Esther Elementary School, Davidson Middle School, Bob Sikes Elementary School, Baker Middle School, Bruner Middle School and Emerald Coast Science Center.  Niceville High School’s Robotics team, the RadioActive Roaches constructed the events over the past few months and were there as volunteers.

This year’s events were significantly more difficult than last year’s.  All events are automated, which means that students program their robots ahead of time to go onto each course, accomplishing each task then returning to base without the use of remote control.  The bar was set high, allowing students to learn advanced motor control concepts in the Step Climber event. Student’s programming skills were stretched by the complex coding necessary to traverse a maze with a decision point.  Students were also required to program switching to follow optional path choices in the Ball Pickup event, while picking up balls of the designated color.

ORBIT was hosted by the Okaloosa County School District, the Doolittle Institute, and Niceville High School CHOICE IT.  Prizes and trophies at Saturday’s event were funded through grants from The Boeing Company, AT&T, and Doolittle Institute.  Professional development sessions for the robotic coaches were held in preparation this tournament.  These were led by Beth Hanning of Doolittle Institute, and Ben Shuman of the NHS Choice Institute.

Ben Shuman of NHS, Katie Gunderson, Assistant Principal of Eglin Elementary, and Beth Hanning, STEM Education Outreach Director for Doolittle Institute, served as the Emcees. Judges included volunteers from Eglin Air Force Base, the University of West Florida, and many other area professionals who joined us to challenge our next generation of scientists and engineers.

Congratulations to all of our winners:

ORBIT Overall Winners

1st – Bob Sikes ES – 14 Points

Pictured  left to right: (adults) Capt. Chris Stilson, Donna Taylor, and Dottie Holland

Middle row left to right: Caden Martin, Rylee Kilian, Brandon Reyes, Sydney Everett, Teresa Baltimore, Lina Maldonado, & Emma Blake.  Bottom row left to right: Kelley Cox, Grayson Clark, and Heidi Sheikho.

2nd – Okaloosa STEMM Academy – 13

Pictured left to right: Natalie Cross, Indira Mishra, Jasmine Mishra, Robin Wynn, Ronin Kiel, Charles Forrest and Coach Beth Hanning. 

3rd – Emerald Coast Science Center – 12

Pictured left to right:  Morgan Pridgen, Mentor: Michael Do, Christian Crawford, and Jeremiah O'Sullivan. Not pictured is Caleb Siegwarth.

Step Climber

1st – Bob Sikes ES
2nd – Emerald Coast Science Center

Ball Shooter

1st – Okaloosa STEMM Academy
2nd – Baker ES
3rd – Davidson MS

Ball Pickup

1st – Emerald Coast Science Center
2nd – Okaloosa STEMM Academy
3rd – Pryor MS


1st – Bob Sikes ES
2nd – Okaloosa STEMM Academy
3rd – Emerald Coast Science Center



Special Core Values Trophy – Awarded by Niceville High School

Mary Esther ES

To see a photo gallery of the event, visit the OCSD Facebook page.