By Dr. Caryn Long, Director of Educational Technology and Innovation
Montverde Academy Robotics incorporates two major national programs. Our Lower School and Upper School currently focus on the VEX program while the Middle School works through the FIRST LEGO League.
Our Lower School’s program is an opportunity to experiment with the idea of robotics and how it relates to everyday life with problem-solving skills.
Students that move into the Middle School program can begin a more serious study of robotics starting in the 7th grade through the FIRST LEGO League. Building robots around a brain through the EV3 and Spike Prime series using Legos to complete the robot build with the goal of solving various challenges and then programming that robot with block programming for autonomous operation to solve those challenges, students must be able to learn to program, build, engineer, and express their learning experiences in various competitions through regional qualifiers and leveled competitions. The Montverde Academy Middle School robotics program has achieved state-level competitions for this league and hosted a qualifier at our school, inviting 16 other teams to compete in a challenging but friendly and respectful atmosphere.
The VEX Upper School program begins in the freshman year with students building a more traditional robot from wire, metal, and other materials. Team members work in a variety of ways to find their strengths through traditional programming, mechanical and electrical engineering, and presentation skills. Cooperatively, they solve new challenges each year, much like the FIRST leagues do, but they have different judging challenges for their competitions. Our Upper School robotics program teams have also had incredible success moving past regional competitions into the state level with recognition of our individual teams for various strengths such as robot design.
This year, our Montverde Academy Upper School VEX robotics program will send a team to Dallas, Texas, for the VEX Worlds Competition. This event, which will be held April 25-28, will have our students meeting thousands of other students from around the world that have climbed to the top of the competition field in order to challenge themselves and others with their uniquely designed robots. Our team, consisting of Isa Jones, Anabelle Pasiecki, Tommy Huynh, and Ismael Ramirez, will represent Montverde Academy in Dallas for the first time in our school’s history.