Jackson County Students Demonstrate Lego Robotics for NCCAT Participants | NCCAT

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Jackson County Students Demonstrate Lego Robotics for NCCAT Participants

Educators spent four days learning about the N.C. FIRST LEGO LEAGUE and how they can use Lego Robotics with their own students at the NCCAT campus in Cullowhee.

CULLOWHEE – Lego teams from three Jackson County schools showed teachers how it is done at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching during the “Lego Robotics 2.0” program on April 9-12

Educators spent four days learning about the N.C. FIRST LEGO LEAGUE and how they can use Lego Robotics with their own students.

The North Carolina FIRST LEGO LEAGUE (NCFLL) has quickly spread across North Carolina with over 500 teams last year. Students in fourth through eighth grade compete by designing and programming LEGO Mindstorm robots, working in collaborative teams, and engaging in research projects about real-world challenges such as recycling and hydrodynamics.

Nathalie Morse, of North Carolina Connections Academy in Durham County, said, “I have a whole notebook of ideas to think about. I’ve already written most of the rough draft of a first-year plan for Lego League. They gave us multiple solutions and options.”

Focusing on programming robots, leading research projects, and finding support, the NCCAT program gave teachers necessary tools to not only maintain a LEGO Robotics team at their school, but also program and test autonomous robots.

“We had a plethora of opportunities to interact and listen to various instructors that had experience with the robots and FLL League,” said Mike Graham, of Southwest Elementary in Greensboro. “ Everyone was very knowledgeable and helpful. It was a great week. I plan to use this with my students in the future.”

Local school teams from Cullowhee Valley Elementary, Fairview Elementary, and the Smoky Mountain Academic Robotics Team (S.M.A.R.T.), a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, from Smoky Mountain High School interacted with teachers and shared stories during student exhibitions. The team demonstrated for all participants the robot they use in competitions.

A number of expert local presenters led the program, including Kamal Butrouna, Lecturer, Chemistry and Physics, Western Carolina University; Crystal Caudle, Fairview School, FLL Coach; Kim Caudle, Fairview School, FLL Coach; Channa De Silva, Associate Professor, Chemistry and Physics, Western Carolina University; Sloan Despeaux, Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science, Western Carolina University; Casey Friessen, Cullowhee Valley School, FLL Coach; Yee Kao, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Physics, Western Carolina University; Larissa Miller, Director, Cullowhee Kids Preschool, Veteran FLL Coach; Yanjun Yan, Assistant Professor, Engineering & Technology, Western Carolina University; Bill Yang, Associate Professor, Engineering & Technology, Western Carolina University; Kelly Spilliards, Fairview School, FLL Coach; Kristen Menickelli, Cullowhee Valley School, FLL Coach; and Darcy Grimes, NCCAT Senior STEM Innovator.

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Increasing teacher effectiveness is fundamental to improving public education. NCCAT provides teachers with new knowledge, skills, teaching methods, best practices and information to take back to their classrooms. For more information about NCCAT’s professional development programs, visit www.nccat.org or call 828-293-5202.

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