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STEM Research Project award winners (@ Mtn Brook) 2014-2015

After school, I sponsor the OMIS Robotics Club/Team with Karen McDonald as part of the Shelby County Community Education program.  We use the same VEX IQ kits that the OMMS team uses.  VEX IQ is a robotics platform like LEGO MindStorms robotics.  The components are similar to LEGO or K’nex but with motors, a brain, and controller similar to an Xbox controller.  The first thing I have rookies do is to go through step-by-step pictorial instructions (much like LEGO again) to build a ClawBot.  They see how the pieces fit together, how to mount the motors, attach the brain.  They practice driving and operating the features of that bot, and then disassemble it to use the engineering design process to create their own custom bot to meet the specific challenge put forth by VEX IQ (called “Squared Away” this year, see this introductory video for more detail).  Two of the four aspects of competition use the controller (2 teams working together and 1 team working solo skills).  One of the four requires programming similar to Hour of Code (ask your kid).  This will be Mrs. McDonald’s arena as well as the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) research project.  We generally compete in 3-5 competitions each season, making it all the way to the state championships at Jacksonville State University in the 2014-2015, 2015-2016, and 2016-2017 seasons.  We also took teams to the state championships at Auburn University in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons.


Semifinals at Alabama State Championship, JSU 2015-2016

We are currently accepting applications for the 2019-2020 season.  If you would like to be added to the roll, please see fill out the Robotics flyer 2019-2020 and return to my box in the office.  Please also feel free to contact me directly with any questions at


Summer Camp 2016-2017