By Mary Petiet
This fall, Cape and Islands students will have the opportunity to compete in the first-ever regional VEX Robotics Competitions, thanks to funding coordinated collaboratively by Cape Cod Regional STEM Network and STEM Starter Academy at Cape Cod Community College, the Robotics Education & Competition(REC) Foundation, and Mashpee School District.
Through REC Foundation funding secured by the Cape Cod Regional STEM Network and Mashpee School District, 25 new Cape & Islands high school Vex teams will receive a robot kit worth $1,400 each. Funding secured through STEM Starter Academy at CCCC will provide the competition equipment for both middle and high school competitions. This is the first time students will be able to compete in Vex robotics qualifying tournaments without leaving Cape Cod.
“I am extremely excited to have a regional VEX robotics competition on Cape Cod for students, teachers and industry. This will be a tremendous opportunity to build partnerships between all stakeholders and pathways to future careers,” stated Mike Looney, Director of CTE programs at Mashpee High School, and the coordinator of the REC Foundation regional robotics grant.
The STEM network is currently seeking student teams of two members each to compete in the Vex IQ for grades four to eight, and the Vex VRC for grades eight to 12. Supporting parents and sponsors are also sought.
“We are thrilled to leverage these partnerships and associated funding to launch Vex robotics in our region, “ said Bridget Burger, Director of the Cape Cod Regional STEM Network and STEM Starter Academy at Cape Cod Community College. “We are hoping to get 15 to 25 new teams across the Cape and Islands started this year, and we are thrilled to host teams at our first Robot Jamboree at Cape Cod Community College on Thursday, October 25 as part of Mass STEM Week. We are planning for a total of three competition tournaments between November 2018 and March 2019.”
“Currently, the closest competitions are held off-Cape, throughout New England, requiring participants to travel long distances in a day. By hosting competitions here, our hope is that more students can participate in tournaments, and more Cape & Islands teams will qualify locally for state, national and world Vex championships,” Burger stated.
Participating students delve deep into the engineering design learning process, with hours spent designing, building, programming, and testing robotics in preparation for the competition. Through teamwork, they combine creative research, systematic observation, technical communication, strategic analysis, structural design, and computer programming to develop their robot inventions they are expected to present at the local tournament.
“We are very excited to bring Cape & Islands school robotics to the next level through hosting these Vex Robotics competitions at CCCC’s. Our hope is that more students will get involved in competitions and will gain not only robotic skills but life skills that will serve them throughout their lives and careers,” said Burger.
Contact Bridget Burger, Director, Cape Cod Regional STEM Network for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org (508) 362-2131 x 4459.