The Joplin School District is expanding its robotics program

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JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin School District has expanded what’s become a popular program.

A new robotics program is now offered at all three middle schools.

It’s an introductory course that teaches students how to code.

“It’s a pretty complex class for a middle school aged student. It’s very upper level thinking and thinking outside of the box,” said Laurel Cook, Project Lead the Way Automation and Robotics Teacher.

This was the first semester the “Project Lead the Way” Robotics and Automation Program was offered to seventh graders at South Middle School.

“They learn about gears and gear ratios. And then it progresses onto learning about what the different vex parts are. And then they will learn how to build simple machines with simple gears. Then we advance to the coding through the computer and then they have various tasks that they have to complete,” said Cook.

Students work in teams to build a robot and code it to perform tasks.

“I feel like the students learn different areas of engineering as well as problem solving. It sets them up for thinking outside the box and it has a lot of workforce qualities to it. Team work, manufacturing, a lot of different areas. Also we circle back to the stem and they learn a lot of science and mathematics using materials for this class,” said Cook.

This semester, students put together a Mars Rover.

“It feels good to know that I helped make it because it’s cool,” said Hunter Perriman, robotics student.

“It felt great knowing all the hard work really paid off,” Ryanne Mckinney, robotics student.

“I think it’s very fun and you get to expand your imagination whenever you code,” said Eli Ahrizo, robotics student.

Students say this class taught them teamwork and patience.

“It’s a good class. what you learn in it is very interesting and it could help you in the future,” said Perriman.

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