Raising the bar in Robotics: Liverpool Central School District hosts first competition for middle school students

Local News

LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Robotics have been an important part of the Liverpool Central School District‘s curriculum for years, and this year, they organized a robotics competition for their middle schoolers!

Anika Keysor is only in 8th grade at Soule Road Middle School, but robotics are helping her get a head start on her future career as an aspiring computer engineer.

She’s only been pursuing robotics since the beginning of the school year.

“It’s amazing. It’s fantastic to be a part of something so new and help it develop,” Keysor said.

Since 1998, Liverpool Central School District has been hosting robotics competitions for its high school students.

The first VEX IQ middle school focused competition was held at the Soule Road Middle School, and 18 teams spread across New York State attended.

“It gives kids the ability to problem solve using STEM skills, science, technology, engineering and math to be able to problem solve through a game design challenge and try and figure out how they’re going to compete to win the overall competition,” said Matt Starke, Technology and Engineering Educator at Liverpool Central School District.

But how does the competition work?

“Every team today is going to have 8 matches. Those 8 matches, they’re going to try to score as many points as they possibly can,” Starke explained.

From there, scores were averaged together and ranked 1 to 18. Teams then chose an alliance team to partner with as they head into another round of competing. This challenge was similar to a March Madness style, as teams were eliminated one by one.

Not only were there 2 competition fields at the front of the room, there were practice fields for teams to fix any mechanical errors in between competitions.

However, it’s not just about high scores and championships. The biggest takeaway are the skills students acquire as they head into their future careers.

“Maybe I went into engineering and that’s awesome, but maybe I just learned how to work together, how to communicate with adults and how to communicate with other students…all those natural skills that you need to learn, they take away from this as well,” said Starke.

Saturday morning, students like Anika realized just how important teamwork is.

“We’re all balancing each other out and we’re making it better, so it’s not as much competition as we’re all teamwork,” said Keysor.

Teams were either trying to win the competition or score well enough to qualify for state championships.

Here’s a list of Saturday’s winners:

iDesign Solutions, a Central New York based company, sponsored and attended the competition. It gave students a look at the new products and hands-on STEM experiences.

Win or lose, students put all of their skills to the test!

WEB EXTRA: 4th graders from William H. Barton Intermediate School, Queensbury, NY

For more local news, follow Adrienne Smith on Twitter @AdrienneSmithTV

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