UP NEXT: Robotics mentors middle schoolers

Walking into the media center on a Tuesday night, sophomore Jorge Jordan lugs in crates of Legos, preparing for nearly 30 middle schoolers to arrive. Jordan is a mentor for the First Lego League Challenge program, in which he coaches team Minimancers.

“You get to connect with these kids,” Jordan said. “They appreciate you, and that can be satisfying.”

Members from robotics team 4717 The Mechromancers mentor students from local schools every Tuesday night in robot design, coding, team building—even speech and writing. The kids are split into divisions based on their age, with elementary schoolers in Explore and middle schoolers in Challenge. 

This year, the “Challenge” regional competition was held in November with the theme of energy. Students had to program a robot, research a problem, find a solution, and prepare a speech for judges. They participated in various missions with their robots, including one in which they had to push a couch with people sitting on it close to a TV set.

Although the teams did not take home any prizes, the experience has helped them grow their STEM knowledge, as well as make new friends. For the next few months, the teams will refine their projects for the parent showcase in April. Eighth grader Satvi Vijaykumar values robotics for the social skills it has given her and hopes to see the teams grow in the following season.

“You’re building your teamwork and collaboration skills as you build robots,” Vijaykumar said. “I love getting to know more about other people and interact with them during robotics.”

View more multimedia content by Skyler Glenn here.