‘Gear Heads’ Robotics Team from Foothills Community School


From the McDowell News:

The Gear Heads from Foothills Community School took the top stop at the annual Cyberkids Advanced Robotics Competition.

The event was held recently at East Lincoln Middle School in Iron Station with teams from across the state. The members of the Gear Heads team from McDowell County are Ryan Hughes, Chevas Farmer, Kellan Raison, Gabriel Stafford and Hunter Byerly.

The team was introduced to the CyberKids Advanced Robotics competition program last fall. Students were briefed on the competition rules and provided a box of starter parts. The STEM challenge was to design a robot to earn as many points as possible, write an app to control the robot via cellphone, develop an engineering notebook to document every meeting and work as a team to accomplish these tasks.

Also, students formed alliances with other teams at the competition. They had to collaborate quickly to determine how they could work together and earn points against two other schools.
“This team did an amazing job this year. Their ability to collaborate with other students and strategize really made a difference! They did a stellar job representing McDowell County,” said Cyberkids Robotics Coach Rebecca Smith.
She added Gear Heads teacher sponsor Hank Hunt supported the team, and displayed a true passion for STEM education the entire year.

”We are very grateful to Melanie Shaver for supporting STEM education in McDowell County! She was present at the competition and rooting for the Gearheads!” Smith stated in a news release. Shaver is the director of FCS which is housed at West McDowell Middle School.

More about Advanced Robotics:

The Advanced Robotics program is taught using a team format. Robotics teams may have up to 10 students. Each team will design, build, wire and program their own “metal” robot from scratch. Advanced teams will learn how to use CAD software to design the chassis, drive train and attachments used by their robot. CyberKids Robotics provides all computers, software and robotics equipment for your robotics program. Robotics teams program robots to operate via remote control. Teams will program and drive their custom robots using video game joysticks. Multiple robots will compete simultaneously in a 12 by 12 arena.


FCS and Pinnacle


Glenwood Elementary takes First Place in Local Robotics Competition

Glenwood Elementary’s LEGO team took first place in McDowell County’s CyberKids Robotics Competition and went on to compete at the state level.


RoboMcDowell Winners

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From the McDowell News:

Foothills Community School Pork Choppers were the overall champions at last weekend’s RoboMcDowell.

And, the Glenwood Rock-It Rovers received first runner-up overall.

Both teams advance to RoboFest, and now have the opportunity to bring home the 2017 North Carolina CyberKids Grand Championship Award. They will compete against the top CyberKids Robotics Teams from counties as far as Beaufort this Saturday at Bailey Middle School in Corneilus.

Students have shown great growth in their leadership abilities, teamwork skills, and understanding of robotics this school year.

“A special thanks to the teachers and staff that worked with these students encouraging them and supporting the growth of STEM education in McDowell County,” said Cyberkids Robotics coach and trainer Rebecca Smith. “A passion for learning and an eagerness to succeed was observed from every team at RoboMcDowell. Keep up the great work. We look forward to continuing the Cyberkids Robotics programs in McDowell County for years to come.”

Superintendant of McDowell County Schools Mark Garrett was on hand to hand out the awards to the winning teams.

“It was exciting to see the students competing after they had spent so much time experimenting, practicing, and testing. All the teams did great. The Cyberkids organization shared with me that this was one of the best competitions they have had and that our students really impressed them with their skills and accomplishments. This is due to the hard work and dedication of the students and their coaches many, many hours of work after school over the course of the year,” he said. “We wish the Foothills Community School and Glenwood Elementary teams the very best as they move on to the next level of competition this coming weekend. I would not be surprised to see them bring some hardware back to McDowell County.”

First LEGO League State Qualifying Tournament

Old Fort Elementary School scoring some points. Check out that Team Spirit!

Grand Canyon National Park Video Conference


With two expert park rangers to guide us, Ms. Smith and Ms. Sanford’s 3rd grade students took a live virtual fieldtrip to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona today. Students took on the roles of various plants and animals in our ecosystem. They acted out their assigned roles and discovered whether or not they would fossilize.


Students learned that snakes die and rot and pine trees die and dry up. We discovered that a predator’s footprint will fossilize and fish become buried in the sediment and became fossils as well. Throughout the conference students learned about fossils, how hard it is for something to become a fossil, paleontologists, ancient life fossils at the Grand Canyon, and had time to ask questions of the park rangers in Arizona.


Video Conferencing is a great resource we offer at HFE to enhance the classroom curriculum. We visit The Museum of Natural History, The Museum of Science, and often you can find us learning about space with our friends at NASA!

Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon National Park

Virtual Field Trip with NASA

SAMR Model

padagogy wheel


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