Robocom 3.0

Students, parents and educators came together for the Socorro Independent School District’s third annual robotics competition, Robocom 3.0, Jan. 7 at Pebble Hills High School.

The all-day event featured 56 elementary and middle school teams from across the district, who built their own Lego robots and tested them at the competition.

Robocom 3.0 gives students a unique way to show off their science and technology skills, said Jennifer Ellis, event coordinator and SISD instructional officer for elementary science education.

“It is an opportunity for students to participate in high-tech robotic experiences that provide students interactive learning, peer collaboration and compete in a districtwide challenge for advanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) preparation,” Ellis said. “Our students are getting involved in robotics at an early age.”

The event, which has generated much excitement in the robotics field for students, varied slightly this year. First, the competition for grades 4-8 was based on FIRST Lego League competition rules, Ellis said. Unlike before, the robots had to be programmed to perform each mission. Students could no longer electronically maneuver them.

In addition, the contest included a portion called Animal Allies. Each team had to research and find a project that solved a real-world animal problem. The students had to create a video that showcased the animal’s situation. This year’s event also included more student-supporting-student components, Ellis said.

Finally, SISD collaborated with UTEP. The top 11 teams from the district contest advanced to the regional Lego robotics competition Jan. 21 at the university. Eleven Robocom teams participated and 11 brought home an award, including Montwood Middle School, who advanced to the World Championship in Houston in April.

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