Mrs. Ashley McCombes, MVA Middle/Upper School Technology teacher, shared with MVA’s Communications Office that her 6th graders collaborated to build a robotics club – as well as the first ever Montverde Academy Middle School VexIQ Robotics League (currently comprised of 12 students ) that meet weekly to study and construct technology-based projects. In the beginning of this semester, during a Wednesday Middle School Assembly, is where club members first demonstrated their skills in robotics. Since then, interest in the robotics club has really blossomed and served as a source of inspiration for students like 6th grader Matthew Tollini, who has been participating in competitions and recently qualified to compete at the Vex Worlds competition being held in Kentucky later this year.

According to their website, VEX IQ “…is a snap-together robotics system designed to offer young students a rich and exciting introduction to the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). The system encourages teamwork, problem solving, and leadership for students as young as second grade, expanding to challenge students through eighth grade! Captures the minds of young students, giving them a curiosity about STEM and robots in general.” 6th grader Ethan Kaufman and his mother, Mrs. Krissie Kaufman, have both been very helpful in offering their leadership to the newly formed Vex IQ robotics club – scheduling meetings and developing project ideas, and recruiting support from other 6th grade parents and MVA faculty.

“Within a month of the first Vex demonstration the Montverde Academy Middle School VexIQ Robotics League was formed. By the end of the next month there were 12 official members, 3 teams with their own parent team leader, and 3 multi-form capable robots,” stated Mrs. McCombes.  A love for engineering and robotics, the allure of investigating the unknown – manipulating variables of technology experiments – and working to create a strong STEM presence in the Middle School community with classmates – are all reasons why the robotics club has become so popular with students – and with parents too.

“I am excited that Vex Robotics is at MVA because it challenges the students to apply and expand all their STEM knowledge in an open-ended, fun, creative technological way!! I enjoy seeing the amazing robots that develop from teamwork and design ideas,” said Mrs. Dawn Tollini, a MVA parent.

In its brief existence, Montverde Academy’s Middle School VexIQ League has constructed several forms of robots using the Vex IQ building system, held internal obstacle course challenges, and even showcased their robots and driving skills at an exhibition match.   “The future of our economy is in STEM related careers. It’s the fastest growing jobs sector and is expected to double within the next 10 years,” says MVA parent Cynthia Schindele, a HR Benefits Consultant for Lockheed Martin.  On Thursday, May 26th at 3:30pm, the club will have an end-of-the-year celebration with the “Human Powered Snow Cone Machine.” Please contact VexIQ Robotics parent Advisor Mrs. Krissie Kaufman at, if you would like to get involve with the club.

VexIQ Robotics Club 2