Ready, set, roar for Lego Robotics

Elementary and middle school students across the district are getting ready, getting set, and are prepared to roar in this year’s Lego Robotics competition.

For the first time in Knox County, four elementary teams will enter the robotic arena to put their team work, creativity, and problem solving abilities to the test.

“We have teams of 4th, 5th, and 6th grade students representing Dewitt, Central, Girdler, and Lynn Camp this year,” said Jennifer Carey, gifted and talented coordinator for Knox County Public Schools.

Those students will join four middle school teams representing Knox County Middle at the district-level competition to be held in Hazard on December 10.

Each team, according to Carey, is made up of six to ten students.  The challenge is to work together to solve a common problem that this year relates to animals.

The problem “Animal Allies” is challenging students to build a robot and solve a real-world problem that relates to our furry, feathered, and finned friends.  In addition to building a robot that would transport the animal, students must research the animal that they selected and help develop a solution that would protect it against humans.  Also part of the competition is a team interview and a spontaneous problem that the teams will learn about the day of the event.

One of the bigger challenges facing Knox County participants this year is the addition of elementary teams.  The students have been busy during the past several days researching, building, and testing their robot with limited experience.  Travis Mills, engineering teacher at Knox Central, has been assisting the teams with their robots.  Carey and Mills feel that this experience will help grow the robotics program, and other creative opportunities, for the students.

“Our elementary teams will have early awareness of what Lego is and be able to go into middle school with the knowledge to compete and win,” said Carey, while explaining the benefits of having an elementary feeder program.

Students participating in the competition learn more than robots and animals as emphasis is placed on the core values of Lego.  By embracing the values, students learn that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork.

The core values of the Lego Robotics are:

  • We are a team.
  • We do the work to find solutions with guidance from our coaches and mentors.
  • We know our coaches and mentors don’t have all the answers; we learn together.
  • We honor the spirit of friendly competition.
  • What we discover is more important than what we win.
  • We share our experiences with others.
  • We display Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition® in everything we do.
  • We have FUN!

The Lego Robotics League is an alliance between FIRST Robotics and the LEGO Group.  For more information about Knox County’s participation in Lego Robotics contact Jennifer Carey at or Travis Mills at