Where We Started
Since 2013, the St. Vrain Valley School District has supported broad implementation of VEX IQ and VEX EDR robotics programs in its schools. Starting with just 5 schools, the program has grown to be the largest robotics program in the state, with more than 150 teams at 35 schools, ultimately reaching over 600 students.
Erie Middle School Robotics started in the fall of 2017 using borrowed space in a science classroom. Time, space, and other resources were limited. Materials had to be packed and put away at the end of every practice, and although the teams had fun, they weren’t as successful as they’d hoped to be.
Where We Are Now
Early in the summer of 2018, club mentors, school administrators, and an enthusiastic new faculty sponsor met to craft a new vision for Erie Middle School robotics. They identified goals and needs for the club, including a permanent work space large enough to leave a field set up. They also discussed ways to give teams more time. Identifying community sponsors provided much-needed funds.
We now have a dedicated place to work, four teams, and a total of 19 members, and additional non-competitive members continue to join the club to gain experience for next season. We’re also working hard to focus on the engineering design process, read judging rubrics, and keep our attitudes positive even when things don’t go our way.
All four of our teams were even more competitive than they expected to be this season. Together, teams 80516E and 80516G won eleven awards and both qualified for the US Open Championship and the Colorado State Championship. Both teams performed very well at the State Championship, and Team 80516E received the Design Award.
Where We’re Going
Erie Middle School robotics started as a way for elementary school students in VEX IQ to continue building their skills in VEX and challenge themselves with a more complex system. We’ve grown a lot in the past two years, and now we’re starting to think about our future. We’re hoping to build a stronger robotics community, and we’re working to start a VEX club at Erie High School for our graduating 8th graders. We also plan to run workshops in the spring for 5th graders to try out VEX EDR before they come to the middle school.
Although our resources have grown a lot this year, we still need more people, money, space, and time. We would like to have more space (and to move out of the basement!). We’re always looking for more sponsors and enthusiastic new members and mentors! If you’d like to join team 80516, there’s more information on our About Us page.