HARLINGEN – “Go, Tigers.”
No, it’s not a football team, or basketball. It’s an all-girl robotics team at Dr. Rodriguez Elementary.
The young engineers are preparing to attend a robotics competition next month. After laboring away at their tasks for months they’re ready.
“I feel very excited and nervous at the same time because it’s our first competition,” said Madysen Gonzales, 11, captain of the team.
She and her young engineers will compete in the FIRST Lego League RGV competition Feb. 11. They’ll present three missions in a 2 1/2 – minute period.
The team got started a little late in the year.
Principal Traci Gonzalez said the all-girls’ robotics team arose from the all-girls’ STEM club created by another instructor, Julie Walther, last summer. The school already has a robotics team made up of both boys and girls.
Some girls might be hesitant to get involved with robotics.
“It’s to recruit more students,” Gonzalez said.
Their enthusiasm seemed to have taken hold. Recently, they gathered around the table-top playing field as their robot grabbed an object in its two arms.
The girls jumped for joy as it pushed the object to the other end. The Tigers’ sponsor, Sadorah Anderson, said she’s excited about the upcoming competition.
“I think they are ready, as much as we have practiced and practiced, we are ready,” said Anderson, who also teaches fourth grade.
The students have been using EV3 Mindstorm, a programmable robotics construction set to build and program their robots.
“We’re trying to complete a mission called the shark tank,” said Tiffany Guillen, 10.
“We have to get the robot to push the shark into the center area.”
The “shark” is made of Legos, said Anderson.
“They have different Legos and they’re put together for different missions,” Anderson said. “They have 16 to choose from.”
Meanwhile, Angelina Trevino, 9, has been researching the whole project to prepare for a presentation at next month’s event.
“I’m doing PowerPoint presentation about the problem and the solution,” she said.
The robotics team has captured their imaginations. They don’t all want to become engineers, but they have clear goals in mind.
One hopes to be an artist, another a doctor, and still another a veterinarian.
“I want to be an engineer on an airplane,” she said.