Robotics in Middle School

Fall 2017

IMG_9895The value robotics brings to schools is hard to measure. Read about the life lessons it teacher all of us in The Real Value Robotics Adds to Education.

Summer 2017

It’s time to start looking ahead to next fall. Our team was amazing last year but as we know from past experience, every year has new challenges. Interest in the robotics team grew exponentially which only made issues worse – in a good way. Students moving into middle school were some of the most qualified among all new team applicants. Unfortunately, only 5 spots were vacant and I had 14 great students who wanted to join.

This was a great problem to have. To choose the best fit for our team, my husband (and team mentor) and I looked to see what the big boys do to screen their candidates. We evaluated the entrance criteria for several engineering colleges across the US. Using the Q & A criteria from common talent indicators at these schools, we gathered a handful of questions we felt could be used to describe the best candidates for our team.

Next, we applied these questions to the top four students who had passed through our program in past years. Finally, we selected five questions from the list that could help our applicant show their strengths.

Each applicant was asked to provide the names and emails of two references who could speak on their behalf. A Google form was sent to them with the five “character-based” questions. Also included was a numbering scale that helped us see at what point in social and skill development each student seemed to be according to their references. Students had to include one teacher and could not include any parents as references.

The last piece of the puzzle was understanding how to candidates will fill out our team in the way of personal attributed and personality. Wow!! It was really hard to choose. But, like any good coach, we had to look at the strengths of the returning team members and fill in the gaps. We choose two young ladies and three young men.

You may think this process was complete overkill. It’s just an after school robotics team. Not to us. Every student who is selected is given a chance to represent the school and themselves in a competition with thousands of people from all over the southern states. This is no small undertaking. Kids who begin as shy and worried emerge as strong leaders, full of confidence and understanding about world. We need to chose the students who are most ready for that experience. I really feel we have a great team this year, so for all our friends in the world of BEST Robotics – Good luck, but be ready for POP Robotics!!

April 2017

Looking ahead to the summer and getting excited about the new Robotics and engineering elective POP Catholic will be offering!

December 2016

Congratulation to POP Dusters for an amazing time at Auburn University! Take a look.

(POP Robotics students (6th graders) rack up 120 points in the yellow section during a 3 minute round.)

What a great experience for the kids at POP Robotics and the other 57 teams from five states. Auburn University knows how to bring engineering to life with the Blues Brother’s theme party at South’s BEST Robotics Regional competition.

November 2016

Making great progress!

October 2016

Great News!! POP Robotics is going to Auburn! The POP Dusters team won 3rd place at the Shelton State competition and will advance to South’s BEST regional competition. Five states compete from Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida in December.

September 2016 New Challenges – New Website!!

We have moved to a new website platform for the BEST Robotics Season. Please visit us at

I will continue to post on my blog any time the kids have something new to share!

August 2016

The countdown has begun! Soon we will begin the 6 week chase to the finish to build a robot from scratch and compete in the BEST Robotics competition. Join us to watch our progress as we rattle our minds for the best design and concepts that drive our team to victory lane.

For more about what makes our robotics team special and the importance of adult leaders in the lives of kids, check out my recent post  Getting started with Robotics.