By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Millington Middle School is preparing to send 20 students to the Nashville area next month for the 2018 Tennessee State Vex IQ Robotics Challenge.
Throughout the robotics season, the Millington Middle students practiced and competed in three Vex IQ tournaments. As a result of their performance throughout the season, five Millington Middle teams received an invitation to compete in the state competition to qualify for the World Championships.
Millington Middle eighth-grade English teacher and STEM instructor Malcolm Sanders is spreading the news of his growing program and the successful 2017-18 school year.
“The children do the leg work,” he said. “I’m just there to guide them along the way. The big news is we have five teams to qualify for the vet IQ Tennessee State Championship in robotics. They will compete on March 2 and 3 in Brentwood Academy.
“In robotics and vet, this is a big deal,” Sanders continued. “It’s going to be the largest robotic event in the history of Tennessee. It’s going to encompass elementary, middle and high school students. More than 80 teams will be there on March 2 and 3.”
STEM, Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, was introduced as a program at Millington Middle three years ago with a pair of robots and eight students.
Then Sanders watched it expended to three robots and 18 students. This year Millington has five robotic teams with 20 students working on the projects.
“The STEM research project, the students had to pick out the use of robot,” he noted. “How it is used to help individuals. Then present that information out. They also have to base it on the three laws of robotics – it won’t’ harm anything or anybody, it is meant to help and aid and it there to help people.”
Sanders said the trip to Nashville will keep his students busy throughout the two days of competition.
“Students compete in three areas a STEM research project, the robotics event itself where the form an alliance with other teams,” he explained, “and a design part to where they will go to an interview as far as explaining the design and how they came up with it.”
The projects Millington is taking up to State began when the students were given a rubric at the beginning of the school year. The students have progressed with project to the pint they earned invite to State.
The success of this year’s projects is just one of the things making Sanders grateful for the growth of the STEM program.
“It makes me proud when I first started I had one girl,” he noted. “Now we have 10 of them and they comprise two of my teams.”
The girls and boys involved in the STEM program are building skills that will help them into their futures.
“I hope it helps them to focus on a career in STEM – one that’s related with science, technology, engineering or mathematics,” Sanders concluded. “I hope this gives them a jumpstart into pursuing one of those careers.”
To help with fundraising efforts for State, contact Sanders at 873-8130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Thomas Sellers Jr.