Robotics Program Thriving at Brownwood Middle School
Article by: Sara Musgrove
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. My second-year students are currently 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 exponentially in the 2020 school year, and more kits were needed. On Thursday, September 17, Brownwood Education Foundation (BEF) presented a check to Smith for the purchase of additional kits as an extension of the previous robotics grant to support STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) initiatives in Brownwood classrooms. “Robotics and STEM help students thrive by being able to use their creativity and showcase their talents,” Smith said. “I have seen them transform from a shy and introverted student into a team captain. Through robotics, they gain the confidence to trust their skills and learn to express themselves.”
Brownwood ISD provides multiple opportunities for students to engage with unique options for learning, and the Brownwood Education Foundation continues to support STEM initiatives. Along with problem-solving, hands-on learning, and tactical implementation of math and science knowledge, students see rigorous growth in their personal satisfaction in STEM activities. The LEGO kits are just one tool to show students they can create and command. As Smith noted, “The wonderful part of teaching in a STEM classroom is that students are engaged and having fun while preparing themselves to think critically and gain crucial real-life experiences.”
BEF’s 50x1000 campaign provides an opportunity for the community to be involved in supporting STEM in BISD classrooms. The goal is for 1,000 people to donate $50 each, providing a united effort for these donations to fund hands-on, innovative, and creative learning activities. To be a part of this crucial project, visit https://www.supportbisd.com/50x1000.
Above: Pictured from left to right are BMS Principal, Sandra Richardson, BEF Development Officer, Larry Mathis, BMS Robotics/Computer Teacher, Melody Smith, BEF Board President, Sam Stewardson, and BISD Deputy Superintendent, Liesa Land
Above: LEGO Mindstorm EV3 Robotics kits in Ms. Smith’s classroom at BMS.