Wednesday, January 30, 2013

GATE students compete at Lego robotics

Competition challenges science, tech, engineering and math skills

Express Staff Writer

Fourth- and fifth-graders, enrolled in the Gifted and Talented Education program at Bellevue, Hailey and Woodside elementary schools, show off medals they won at a regional First Lego League completion last November in Twin Falls. The students also participated in a state tournament last weekend in Twin Falls. Back row, from left, are Jennifer Jordan, Josie Saleen, Garrett Doub, Alex Baker, Peter De la Cruz, Kristian Lamprecht, Kye Harned, Eli Trevino and Quinn Closser. Front row, from left, are Davey Shrader, Nick Dabney, Ethan Gray, Fisher Gardner, Zane Barckholtz, Griff Connelly and George Englehardt. Missing from photo is Blue Team member Ben Ertz. Courtesy photo by Kathy Baker

    Seventeen fourth- and fifth-graders at Bellevue, Hailey and Woodside elementary schools are learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics by building robotic contraptions out of Legos.
    The students, enrolled in the Blaine County School District’s Gifted and Talented Education program, typically referred to as GATE, competed in November at the regional First Lego League competition in Twin Falls and last weekend at the state competition, also in Twin Falls.
    A team of fifth-graders, referred to as the Green Team or S.P.U.D.S, brought home the state trophy for Gracious Professionalism, which GATE teacher Kristy Turco described as a “demonstration of competition and integrity coupled with respect and kindness.”
    Turco said both the Green Team and the Blue Team, which is composed of fourth-graders, “excelled at the state tournament, besting their scores from the November regional competition for project presentation, core values and robotics.”
    The students design and build Lego robot machines from Lego Mindstorm NXT robotics components.
    Turco said that in building their machines, the students collaborate and brainstorm solutions to “real-world problems.” This school year, the competition involved “senior solutions” and tasked the students with finding robotic technology that could be of assistance to senior citizens.

Terry Smith:

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