Students compete in 1st RoboBeaufort competition

Published 9:13 pm Monday, April 10, 2017

From programming and coding to engineering, some Beaufort County students are giving the professionals a run for their money.

As part of the inaugural RoboBeaufort Robotics Competition, sponsored by CyberKids Robotics and the first of its kind in the county, students in fourth through eighth grades competed in teams Saturday as a culmination of months of hard work.

Eight teams from five schools competed this weekend, with eight students and two teacher coaches per team. Students attended a weeklong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) camp last summer, and have since met twice a week to hone their skills, according to Paul Huggins, director of instructional technology at Beaufort County Schools.

Huggins said the competition was comprised of three parts: a research project, on which students were required to give an oral presentation; teamwork, where judges assessed how students worked together; and the robotics arena, in which students debuted their robotic projects programmed to complete tasks, and scores were determined based on the best of three runs. The theme focused on how animals and humans can work together.

ROBOTICS: The students’ robotic projects were programmed to complete certain tasks. Scores were determined based on the best of three runs. (Paul Huggins)

The event drew about 300 people, the majority of which were teachers, parents and other supporting spectators, Huggins said. Dr. Don Phipps, superintendent of Beaufort County Schools, was on hand to present the awards.

“Robotics is something that people don’t know all about,” Huggins said. “It extensively involves teamwork, collaboration and coding.”

Students received awards for the top scores in each of the competition’s three parts. First place overall went to the Bath Elementary Robot Mechanics, and second place went to the P.S. Jones Tech Titans.

Huggins said participation in the robotics competition is a good way to teach students some of the skills they may need later in life.

“Those are things I think will benefit all students,” he said. “The plan is to keep it going.”

The winners from Saturday’s competition will move on to compete at RoboFest at Bailey Middle School in Charlotte on April 29.