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Foundation provides support to thriving robotics program at middle school

Special to the Bulletin
From left are Brownwood Middle School principal Sandra Richardson, Brownwood Educational Foundation development officer, Larry Mathis, robotics/computer teacher Melody Smith, foundation board president Sam Stewardson, and BISD deputy superintendent, Liesa Land.

Create and command.

This is the basic idea behind the LEGO Mindstorm EV3 Robots, one of the tools used in Brownwood Middle School robotics classrooms.

Robotics teacher Melody Smith works with students to help them engineer and engage, create and command.

“Students in my class blend hands-on learning with computer-based learning,” Smith said. “Students are tasked with analyzing a problem, building the robot, and creating a program to solve that problem. ”

Smith said her second-year students are working through a Space Challenge where they have seven different missions they must carry out.” The LEGO Mindstorm EV3 kits contain multiple experiences for students, with various parts that move, roll, grab, or sense. Students piece together the robots and program them to move and perform functions to solve problems.

Enrollment in the BMS Robotics program has increased this school year, and more kits were needed.

The Brownwood Education Foundation recently presented a check to Smith for the purchase of additional kits. The check was an extension of the previous robotics grant to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives in Brownwood classrooms.

Robotics and STEM help students showcase their creativity and talents, Smith said.

“I have seen them transform from a shy and introverted student into a team captain,” Smitih said, adding that students “gain the confidence to trust their skills and learn to express themselves.”