By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Students anxiously watched as their autonomous robots or bots wheeled across the gymnasium floor Saturday morning at Midwest City Elementary School.
They cheered when the bots completed each of the tasks. And groaned in frustration when things didn’t go as planned, before regrouping to solve the problem.
Teams of students worked together to complete a variety of tasks during Mid-Del Schools Botball Challenge. The event was open to elementary school students from the district. Ten of the district schools were represented.
Botball is an educational robotics program that engages students to work together in competitions. They build and program autonomous robots to complete tasks such as moving around obstacles or picking up objects.
The botball clubs practice throughout the year. They meet with their teacher before or after class a few times a week.
At the Mid-Del Challenge, students earned pins for completing each of the tasks. They received information about five of the tasks in advance of the event. There were two mystery challenges and a debugging challenge.
This is the only districtwide botball event for elementary students. Middle and high school students can compete in competitions around the metro.
Krissy Johnson, K-12 science and STEM instructional facilitator for Mid-Del Schools, said botball is a fun way for students to build important skills.
“They learn many skills including critical thinking, processing, thinking outside the box, and learning to work with each other to accomplish tasks,” Johnson said.
Johnson said botball can also introduce students to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM fields.