Robotics program kicking off at Manila Middle School

Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Manila Middle School has a new enrichment program, Beginning Robotics. Pictured are, from left: front -- Hadley Day, Jasmine Murphy, Courtney Merritt, Emily Smith, Paul Ray Fleeman, Dalton Hitchcock, Charles Grimaldo, Chris Ditto, Garrett Jolliff. Middle -- Loren Davison, Andi Jo Baker, Taylor Willis, Natalee Griffin, Gracyn Smith, Haylee Kirk, Annan Garrett, Tommy Byrd, Joel Burrow. Back -- Melissa Baker-sponsor, Cheyenne Arnold, Neal Benson, Olivia Stankiewicz, Libby Schaefer, Karlie Eubanks, Jacob Stone, Tyler Harrison, Dylan Carruth, Jacob Wright, Jerrod Nettles, Trey Hicks, John Deaton-sponsor.

Beginning Robotics, LEGO Mindstorms NXT, kicked off at Manila Middle School with 30 students divided into six teams.

Librarian Melissa Baker and Coach John Deaton are the program coordinators and both said they are pleased with the students' enthusiasm for the program.

Together the students will convert the classroom into a hands-on robotics laboratory. They will model real-life mechanisms and use creativity, logic, and problem solving skills while learning key STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) concepts.

The expectations include students planning this program from the beginning with the advice and direction of the coordinators. Students will enjoy the process and will work hard to achieve success through the completion of LEO Mindstorms NXT robots. Students will be asked to actively participate in all aspects of planning, purchasing, construction, and future competitions in the program. They will be responsible for maintaining all equipment purchased.

Baker said with the new program, they are working on funding.

"We have sent out letters to businesses and we will be doing fund raising projects throughout the year," she said. "We know we will not be ready for competition this year but we are planning on having a community/family night here to give the public an idea of what the program is all about and see what the students are building."

The enrichment program is made up of seventh and eighth grade students.

"Young people are so quick to catch on to technology," Baker said. "Coach Deaton and I are also learning more about the program as we go along.

Baker said they would like to take the students to a competition so they can see what is expected and what it is all about.

If anyone would like to donate to the new program they can contact Mrs. Baker or Coach Deaton at 561-4815.

"We hope to host a demonstration for the public later this year," Baker said. "I think people will be amazed at the skills these students will use."

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