Emerald Coast Robotics Kick Off

Students from across the district recently attended the Emerald Coast Robotics Kick Off on Saturday, September 28 at the Okaloosa STEMM Center (OSA).  Robert Jernigan, OSA, and Beth Hanning, Doolittle Institute, hosted the event.

“Teams from Davidson and Shoal River Middle Schools, as well as Bob Sikes Elementary joined them at the Okaloosa STEMM Center to participate in Part 1 of our Florida Lego League (FLL) Natural Disaster Challenge” said Hanning.  “Students completed a challenge to program their robot to distribute food and water to shelters with the use of light and color sensors.”

“The focus today is teaching the kids how to program using sensors and switches and also introducing the students to the new EV3 robot programming software,” said Ulanda Nunn, Bob Sikes Elementary School, Robotic Bullpups. 

“This day is also about getting the word out and growing Okaloosa County’s robotic program,” said Dottie Holland, Bob Sikes Elementary School, Rocking Robots.  “This is such an awesome opportunity to build those STEMM connections for children starting in the fourth grade all the way up through high school.  FLL focuses on the aspects of core values and its teaching the kids how to work as a team with gracious professionalism.  They teach the kids it is not just about you, it is about everybody; and it is not about winning, it is about the experience, the learning, and the fun.  It is an amazing program that we would love to see Okaloosa County just thrive in.”

Niceville High School First Robotics Competition (FRC) students Matthew Helms (11) and Reid Elliott (12) were on hand to teach students how to program the new robots using the new EV3 software.  Ben Shuman, NHS Robotics coach, taught students about the ideal way to build an EV3 robot and Tim Sexton, Davidson Middle School, brought his new set of 15 EV3 robots to share.

“We are hoping that the FLL teams will not use dead reckoning, that they will learn logic flow and how to follow a line,” said Matt Helms, a junior at Niceville High School and member of the FRC team. 

“First Robotics Competition was designed as a way of providing competitive tournament style competition for people who do programming and like to build things,” said Al Laroe, Science Teacher and one of Niceville High School’s (FRC) team sponsors.  “It is not just about competing with each other; one of the key components is gracious professionalism, which is where we are there to help other people, and that is what we are doing today.” 

“We are learning how to use color sensors today,” said Halle Mynard, a fifth grade student at Bob Sikes Elementary School.  “Since our theme this year is natural disasters, our board has two shelters.  Our mission is to get one shelter water and the other shelter food.  So we are programming our color sensors to tell us which way to go to drop off the supplies.”

“Today I have learned a lot about some of the blocks – switch, loop, variable, trap – in the EV3 programming software,” said Alexis Sanders, a fifth grade student at Bob Sikes Elementary School. 

“I have had a lot of fun today,” said Abby Williams,

“Today was very difficult,” said Jocelyn Santos, a fifth grade student at Bob Sikes Elementary School.  “I also learned a lot of new things.  I am the newbie in this group so it is a lot harder to actual process this because they actual all have experience.”

Part 2 of the Challenge will take place at Bob Sikes Elementary on October 26 (from 9:00am – 2:00pm) and will be hosted by Coaches Ulanda Nunn and Dottie Holland.  Coaches Laurie Allen, Shoal River Middle School and Tim Sexton will talk more in depth about the Florida Lego League (FLL) Nature's Fury Challenge to the students at that time.

On December 14, Shoal River Middle School will host the FLL Qualifying Tournament from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm.

For more information about the FLL Nature's Fury Challenge go to: http://www.firstlegoleague.org/challenge/2013naturesfury or to find out about how to form a robotics team, download the free version of the EV3 software, or register for next year's FLL challenge, go to http://di-idl.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_24.html.