Humble ISD sent 111 teams from the district’s elementary schools to the annual All-Earth EcoBot Challenge, a regional event hosted by the Education Foundation of Harris County. Through Ecobots, students work in teams to build and program robots that will accomplish a pre-specified green task. Each challenge provides students with fundamental skills applicable to any profession, Douglas Kleiner, CEO of the Education Foundation of Harris County said. “The Challenge ‘missions’ tie directly to real-world workforce and workplace reality in our region – exciting the kids about their futures, here in Texas, even as they experience first-hand how useful and applicable knowledge is and how good they are at manipulating,” Kleiner said.   About 500 students in grades 5 through 8 participated in this year’s Ecobot Challenge. The students’ participation was made possible thanks to a $150,000 donation from Waste Management, according to Alison Pierce, Humble ISD’s Elementary Science Coordinator. “Humble ISD offers one of the largest elementary robotics programs in the state,” said Pierce. “This opportunity for students to engage in engineering and programming would not be possible without the generous and ongoing donations by Waste Management.” A portion of the donation was used to purchase robot kits for elementary schools. Teams prepared for weeks with the kits prior to the Ecobot Challenge. “Early on, students begin writing simple programs that make the robot move a certain distance, turn around, and come back home,” Pierce said. “By the time the competition rolls around, students have constructed robotic arms and added sensors to accomplish new Ecobot challenges.” The competition helps students understand the integration of math and science with technology. “Students use algebraic reasoning, proportions and many forms of measurement while programming, along with their knowledge of force and motion friction and simple machines,” Pierce said. Ecobots, in addition to being fun, also teaches students the importance of teamwork. “This competition forces students to work with one another as a unit, Pierce said. “Students must continually come together as a team to solve a multitude of problems – some math related, some equipment design and others logical reasoning. By assigning roles and responsibilities, and practicing the art of compromise, students interact in exactly the same way adults do in the workplace.”   EcoBot Challenge Humble ISD Winners Bemo – Elm Grove Elementary, Humble ISD (Best Programming) Alisa Cancino, Teacher Circuit Breakers  – Humble Elementary, Humble ISD (won for High Score) Peggy Mensik, Teacher Nano-Bot Geeks – Pine Forest Elementary, Humble ISD (High Score) Janette Ferranti, Teacher Wall-E  – Shadow Forest Elementary, Humble ISD (High Score) Lori Shortis, Teacher Robotic 4  –Summerwood Elementary, Humble ISD (Green Steward Eco-Genius) Kristin Bryan, Teacher Exotomic  – Timbers Elementary, Humble ISD ( Best Engineering) Stacey Ward, Teacher. Photo: Greentree Elementary School fifth graders Briget Shull, Ainsley Thomas, Rachel Mitchell and Lizzy Young enjoy working together on their Ecobot Challenge.  

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