Oxford BOE approves student trip to robotics competition
by Laura Gaddy
Dec 19, 2013 | 3535 views |  0 comments | 93 93 recommendations | email to a friend | print
OXFORD — The Oxford City Board of Education on Thursday approved a pair of out-of-state field trips for members of the high school’s robotics team.

The team will travel to Atlanta Feb. 14 for a practice competition and March 27-29 for a regional competition. The robotics team formed about four years ago and has since been to several competitions, including one this fall, said Roy Bennett, spokesman for the district.

“The school system giving kids the opportunity to go on these kinds of trips and take part in these kinds of competitions are part of our mission,” Bennett said.

Robotics teams are judged in competitions based on whether their machines can perform specified objectives, selected by tournament organizers. For example, in a competition earlier this year, the Oxford team had to program its robot to throw Frisbees, Bennett said.

Students will learn their robots’ objectives in January at a Huntsville meeting. The contest, the Peachtree Regional Competition in Atlanta, is organized by FIRST Robotics, a New Hampshire-based non profit that works to encourage children to pursue careers in science, math and technology.

Bennett said that like athletic matches, the robotics competitions have already become a fixture in the school year for some students. Oxford City Schools as well as districts such as Piedmont and Jacksonville, offer robotics courses to students in lower level grades as well.

Elementary school students in Oxford use Lego robotics kits to build devices, while students in ninth grade use larger, more complex kits from a company called VEX Robotics, Bennett said. In high school, students work with a teacher and an engineer who help them build bigger machines, Bennett said.

The cost of the overnight robotics trip will be between $2,200 and $2,500, Bennett said. The team has collected $2,600 in sponsorship from Honda, TapeCraft corporation, America’s First Credit Union and the Fort McClellan Credit Union, Bennett said.

In other business the board:

— Appointed teachers to serve on textbook committees for language arts and for social studies.

— Approved an out-of-state travel request to Myrtle Beach, S.C., March 23-27 for the high school baseball team. The $6,500 cost for the trip will be covered by student fundraisers, Bennett said.

— Approved a new language arts book, Edition of Journeys, for students in fifth and sixth grades.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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