Pinehurst Elementary School students get robotic

by Josh McDonald
Staff Reporter | March 24, 2020 3:00 PM

PINEHURST — Prior to their COVID-19 suspension, students at Pinehurst Elementary School took part in a new and exciting project that tested their ability to blend imagination with machines.

The enrichment activities are an effort by the school to provide some higher level education to some of the students who are in need of more challenging projects at the elementary level.

The school launched its first group in November, which just finished its first activity: a Robot Olympics.

Under the watchful eye of PES computer teacher Mike Davis, the group was broken into two teams of three students each to construct and program their robots.

“The kids had to program their robots to perform various ‘Olympic’ events,” PES principal Mike Groves said. “In addition to learning the program skills and to think logically, the kids learned some physics and geometry in the course of the activities.”

The Olympic events included: a timed slalom course, a cotton ball toss, running a timed square, pushing a ball onto a target for score, and writing an original figure skating routine.

While Groves does what he can to assist Davis with the kids who are participating, he also heaped a lot of praise onto Davis, who has really taken the reins to make sure the students are getting immersed in as much technology and learning as possible.

“Mike Davis, our computer teacher, spearheaded this effort. He plans the activities, makes sure we have the materials we need and has the activities all set up when the kids arrive,” Groves said. “I assist him in the activities, but it is his show. Some of this stuff is new to us so Mike has taken the lead in teaching himself how to do the green screen activities, 3-D printing and other activities that we have purchased.”

With the success of the first group, PES has launched a second group which is moving into its own robotic event, while the original group is expected to begin working on learning the science behind green screens.