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Jefferson Elementary students ready to compete in Vex IQ Robotics Competition

On Saturday November 7th, future engineers from across the state will be packing up and heading to the Vex IQ Robotics Competition.

This year, Jefferson Elementary in Plymouth will be getting in on the action, thanks to one teacher who gave up part of her summer and Saturdays to coach the group.

  

But this program is not just teaching kids how to build robots from scratch, it’s also helping them learn life lessons.

Chris Johnson, one of the 4th graders in the program, told us “I like playing and doing this because it's kind of hard because you have to plug in certain wires and certain cables and it's not easy.

  

Miranda Gibbons, another 4th grader, said “this is a really good way for children to learn how to put stuff together and how to use teamwork and to just like get things done.”

One of the volunteers helping these students is Jeremy Shidler, a graduate of Plymouth High School and current engineering student at Purdue University.

We first met Jeremy last year as his high school team got ready for the same competition.

He told us, “the kids experience basically everything involved in robotics; programming, designing, some basic engineering, some binder work, sketches, stuff like that. Everything is at a real basic level.”

So, what exactly is it that these mini engineers have to do at Vex IQ?

Their teacher, Jenn Shidler, said “they are trying to score points with the balls and then they are programming. And they will get judged on that and then their binders that they do.”

  

But, as Jeremy Shidler tells us, these skills are worth a lot more than just points at this competition.

“Well, I went through high school robotics and now I'm going into mechanical engineering. Some of my friends went into programming, electric engineering, this takes in all kinds of engineering; everything but chemical.”

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