By Tammy Moore Teague
The Hackett Robotics Team is only in its second year and is already outperforming their competition. In fact, they are the only school in the River Valley that competes elementary students in robotics! Most of the teams the school have competed against are seventh-ninth graders. This, in comparison to the Hackett teams fourth-sixth graders.
“Our kids finished in the top ten in coding which is awesome,” stated Elementary Principal Tura Bailey. “I don’t understand coding at all and these kids are competing against much larger schools doing a task I can’t do!”
The Robotics Facilitator is Michelle Lasiter. She along with “Team Terminator” coaches, Gail Pelham and Shannon McKnight, and “Dabbin’ Dragon” coaches Erica Cooper and Shirley Davis have assisted the students in this endeavor. Parent mentors include Chelsea Gordon and computer programmer Andrew Velosky.
The First Lego League Competition teams are given a problem they are to find an innovative solution for. “This year’s problem was how to make life better for astronauts that stay in space for a year or longer,” stated Lasiter. “The teams them research several different ideas before settling on the one that they want to do. The teams then come up with a way to present their innovation to the judges. So far all out presentations have been in skit form.”
Then, they present core values, which are all about teamwork, cooperation, and things learned outside FLL. The third set of judging is for robot design. “There the students explain their robot attachments and plan of attack for the robot game,” Lasiter explained. “Then there is the actual robot games where teams try to have their robot accomplish as many missions in 2.5 minutes as they can.”
This year “Team Terminator” came in fifth and “Dabbin’ Dragons” came in ninth place out of the 19 participating teams.