RES Students Enjoy Toys of the Imagination

Thursday, October 16, 2014
RES fourth, fifth and sixth grade Gifted and Talented Students taking part in Lego League are using the popular toy to build robots in order to take part in competitions with other schools from across the state.

Students in Rector Elementary's Gifted and Talented program have been staying after school with piles of toys cluttering their desks. These students aren't just playing with toys, though, they're working on exciting projects designed to stimulate creativity while creating a lasting appreciation for engineering and science, even though everyone seems to be having good, old-fashioned fun by all appearances.

The group of 21 students is taking part in Lego League under first year Gifted and Talented teacher Lance Mabrey with assistance from RES teacher Christin Holmes and Shawna Bucy. As members of the program, these Rector students are working to design and program robots comprised of Lego building toys and small computers and gears to meet competition-specific goals.

For instance, the goal may require a robot to move through a series of small cones, similar to an obstacle course, grasp a two-pound weight or similar object and then lift said object to a shelf. Fourth, fifth and sixth grade students taking part in the program are sixth graders Faith Fry, Zane Holloway, Jacob Holmes, Logan LaCaze, Sophie Simmons, Sadey Underwood and Nick Wofford, fifth graders Greydon Boyster, Devin Brown, Jerrin Bucy, Haley Naney, Lane Stucks, Olivia Sutherland and Maddox Trail and fourth graders Kanaan Diddle, Landon Haywood, Jackson Hill, Evan Holmes, Kaley Isom, Isabella Mosley and Carter Pence.

"It's following the current STEM curriculum, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math," Mabrey said. "The kids are learning more about these areas, but they're doing it in a way that's fun and translates better than just working on problems from a book. They're really enjoying it."

There have been desires to have RES students take part in Lego League events in the past, but these efforts eventually fell through as the program can be time-consuming. Mabrey, though, knew he wanted to give his students the opportunity to be a part of something like Lego League.

"There had been some interest before, but it never really got off the ground. When I learned about it, I knew it was something the students would enjoy doing and stick with if we could only get the ball rolling on it. Mrs. Holmes and Mrs. Shawna Bucy have been great to help us out with everything and the parents have been very supportive. I think we're all looking forward to seeing this develop more."

RES students will take part in a Lego League competition at Searcy o Nov. 22.

"I think this is something they will look back on and smile," Mabrey said. "I've had one student already come up to me and say that he planned on becoming an engineer. I think he was considering that before this, but Lego League helped encourage that even more."

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