Robots take over Cullman City Schools for showcase

Students from East and West Elementary Schools compete in a robotics showcase hosted at West Elementary School, as part of the district's creative efforts to expand STEM education. (Cullman City Schools)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Robots staged a mini-takeover at West Elementary School this week, but don’t worry, they were thankfully all under student control as part of an ambitious robotics club showcase competition.

West and East Elementary Schools had a chance to showcase the Robotics Clubs with a competition night to highlight work with VexIQ Robots. Teams competed in an interview, notebooking, skills challenge and team challenges to demonstrate collaboration, problem-solving and critical thinking skills at West Elementary School on Monday, May 6, 2024.

“Two years ago, West Elementary School initiated an after school Robotics Club to help support the vision of the CCS STEM initiative through a CMS grant utilizing VexGo Robotics,” West Elementary School third-grade teacher Kristina Kallhoff explained. “West Elementary began with 30 Robotics Club members who excitedly mastered VexGo and were ready for the challenge of learning the foundations of VexIQ Robotics used at CMS. East Elementary began an after school Robotics Club this year using VexGo and VexIQ Robotics. We are excited to bring both schools together to demonstrate what we have learned.”

The showcase competition was a chance for students to see what it’s like to compete in actual robotics competitions, something they haven’t had a chance to do quite yet since the robotics clubs have been after-school activities up to this point.

“Holding this event was a chance for our students to get a preview of what to expect at a competition,” Kallhoff said. “Students gained team-building skills, became familiar with the competition and transitioned STEM exploratory ideas into the application of STEM competency.”

Kallhoff noted the ability to host an event like this is a credit to the Cullman City Schools Board for establishing a K-12 comprehensive STEM vision and education, as well as the leaders at both East and West Elementary Schools for investing time and resources in STEM education. The showcase was sponsored by Branham Tire and Accessories and the West Elementary PTA.

“It is an exciting time in our young students’ lives to be able to foster foundational STEM skills while creating fun memories!” Kallhoff added.