Greenville students compete against the world in robotics

They may look like just a bunch of middle school students having some fun, but Christine Plumier’s students from Sevier Middle School are working hard getting ready for a competition in May against the best middle school robotics teams the world has to offer.

The teams will battle it out May 3-5 in Dallas at VEX Robotics World Championshipwhere students construct the best designs for devices and compete in contests to test construction, programming, teamwork and design.

Photo by Mike McMillan

To get to Dallas, students won state-level competitions at the Citadel. All three teams – Men in Black, The Raptors and The Titans – also won numerous tournaments and awards throughout the year leading up to the state championship.

“These are really the best teams I’ve ever had,” Plumier said. It’s the 9th or 10th year her students have been part of a competition, and Plumier has been leading the class to excellence each year.

“All the hard work pays off,” eighth grader Hazel Hayden said.

What they’re made of

The robots are built with long, steel pieces fastened by screws and bolts, and the movable parts work through gears and chains. The robots are limited to eight motors, but students can pick whatever sensors they want.

The robots compete on a 12-by-12 field, and the robots can be up to 36 inches wide and as high as students want. Each team has the same motors and computers. Plumier said teams put in at least three hours a week at school, and many students in the project work on it over spring break.

Eighth-grader Giovanni Crisanto Nunez said it takes about a day to assemble a robot, and students take notes and photos along the way. He said it takes trial and error to work out the kinks in each design.

Robotics team
Photo provided

Gaining experience in STEM

Students are learning how to code and build computer programs that can run an autonomous robot. In the competition, each team races to place as many pieces in the goal as they can in a certain amount of time.

In the end, the competition is a test of engineering, teamwork and strategy, with students gaining excellent experience in STEM education.

“I thought about engineering, and this gives me more exposure to it,” eighth-grader Cameron Roof said.

The students have been raising money for the trip, which will cost more than $ 500 between the plane ticket and hotel rooms. The competition will take place at Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in Dallas.

“They have the passion and drive,” Plumier said.

Robotics teams from Sevier Middle School

Men in Black

  • Giovanni Crisanto Nunez
  • David Grogg
  • David Greer
  • Peter Husley
  • Cameron Roof
  • JT Lutz

The Raptors

  • Hazel Hayden
  • Nyri Wilson
  • Olivia Livingston
  • Nyna Mckenzie

The Titans

  • Luke Eanes
  • Lilly Tessman
  • Dmitriy Astapeyev
  • Cannon Childs
  • Joseph Hughes

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