Campus & Community

Robotics competition brings more than 180 middle schoolers to PBSC

Robotics Extravaganza Group
Aspiring engineers and programmers from Palm Beach County afterschool programs gathered outside the BioScience Technology Complex on PBSC’s Palm Beach Gardens campus, the site of the 14th annual Robotics Extravaganza.

After preparing for weeks in afterschool programs across the Palm Beach County School District, 23 student teams came together Saturday to pit their robots against one another in exciting head-to-head competition.

The event was the Palm Beach County School District’s 14th Annual Middle School Afterschool Program Robotics Extravaganza, which was hosted for the first time by Palm Beach State College. Part of the national First Lego League robotics competition, the event had the highest turnout in its history, as more than 180 middle schoolers converged on the Palm Beach Gardens campus to test their engineered creations.

Robotics Extravaganza
Students competed in 23 teams at Saturday’s Middle School Afterschool Robotics Extravaganza.

The teams were judged on how well their robots completed timed tasks, such as navigating a maze and putting balls in a basket. An awards ceremony capped the event, honoring winning teams in two leagues, Apprentice and Master, which offered opportunities for rookie and experienced teams to be recognized.

Palm Beach State’s InnovATE project, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, sponsored lunch and T-shirts for the participants. InnovATE is focused on stimulating student involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics— the STEM fields.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to promote the continuum of education from middle school to high school to college and career. The kids got to hear about our academic programs, summer offerings, dual enrollment and industry partnerships that can make a difference in student success in STEM,” said Dr. Becky Mercer, principal investigator for the InnovATE grant and director of Biotechnology programs and STEM Education at the College. “In attendance were girls and boys, Title 1 schools, south county, north county, east and west, and their parents. It was a great representation of the district and brought together students who will be future STEM leaders.”

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