Knox Middle advances to State in LEGO competition

LEGOs were childs play for the robotics team at Knox Middle as they took second place honors at the regional LEGO Robotics competition.

The competition, which was held on Saturday, November 23 at the Challenger Learning Center in Hazard, was focused on creative problem solving for natural disasters.  Robots created by the students navigated an obstacle table within a two-and-a-half minute time limit, performing tasks related to the disaster theme of “Nature’s Fury.”

Students from Knox Middle researched the problem of flooding in rural Barbourville and developed a solution to help alleviate the problems that it can cause.   In conducting their research for the competition they consulted with Josh Callihan, superintendent of the Barbourville Utility Commission, about flooding in downtown Barbourville.

“Events like this one allow students to learn about science and technology outside the classroom,” said Joseph Collins, robotics coordinator for the Challenger Learning Center during a recent interview with WYMT.

“You can sit kids down with worksheets and textbooks, and a lot of them consider it to be kind of a grind,” he said. “It’s really hard to generate the interest level you need for any kind of continuing education.”

WYMT morning weather anchor Brandon Robinson served as master of ceremonies for the competition.

Representing Knox Middle were Jobeth Hopper, Madison Gibson, Malloree Walker, Anna Beth Callihan, Cassidy West, Emily Belile, Nathan Lundy, Tawney Nelson, Devonte Valentine, and Tosh Cole.  Their adviser is Travis Mills, engineering teacher at Knox Middle and Knox Central.

The students from Knox Middle now advance to the State Robotics Championship which will be held on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at Western Kentucky University.