Middle school robotics expands; students build skills for the future

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Special to The Mountain Advocate
Building robots, skills, and our community is the goal of the Knox County Middle School program team that is seeing success in building it’s enrollment and participation.
For the first time since being established, the Knox Middle robotics program will be represented by three (3) separate teams when they travel to East Perry Elementary in Hazard on December 5th to participate in the First Lego League’s First Robotics competition.


If building on past success is the challenge, the three Knox teams are ready to dominate the competitors.  Last year the school won first place at the Regional Competition and advanced to the State Tournament.
“We are trying to build a program that the community and the students can be proud of. It is a great opportunity for everyone involved”, said Travis Mills, faculty sponsor of the First Lego League teams at Knox Middle.
Students use teamwork, cooperation, and design skills to build a robot and autonomously program it to perform events in an arena. Embedded within each year’s competition are teamwork, individual work ethic skills, and a sense of building community and making a difference whether as an individual or working together.
“This has really made me take a closer look at engineering as a possible career for me”, said Lindsey West, a student participating in the program.
A total of 30 students from the gifted and talented program will compete at the event, divided into the three teams.
‘The MasterMinds’, ‘MindMasters’, and ‘Los Genios’, all are working diligently to prepare for the event.  Along with support from Mills as the faculty sponsor, the team has invited guest mentors to offer guidance as they prepare for the competition.
Joseph Collins, robotics coordinator from The Challenger Learning Center, visited the teams last week.
“You all are the team beat,”, was Collins’ motivation to students as they showcased their projects.
For more information about robotics and pre-engineering opportunities in the Knox County Public Schools contact Travis Mills at travis.mills@knox.kyschools.us