two young Hispanic boys holding a robot they created, standing in front of a table with other robot pieces on it, sitting on a green plate

Each year, the Tyler ISD Elementary Robotics Showcase features a cafeteria and gymnasium full of impressive robotics creations designed and constructed by teams of elementary students from across the District. Although the competition went virtual this year, four outstanding elementary students emerged to claim first, second, and third place achievements.

In its fourth year, Tyler ISD Robotics Coordinator Hunter McConnell says that although the virtual format did present some challenges, it didn't stop participating students from producing impressive projects. "This year was a little tougher than usual, and time was precious, but our students and their teachers dedicated a lot of hours after school to making this year's Robotics Showcase another success."

Students in first through third grades competed in a "Shark Tank" style competition where they had to make a digital engineer's notebook and invent a robot that would exhibit the theme "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Students recorded a video presentation about their robotics for judges to score based on coding, artistic display, the engineer's notebook, and the presentation itself.

Griffin Elementary School produced the top two projects of the showcase. Jonathan Mendez earned first place for inventing a robot that would pull trash from the recycling container to the recycling factory. Jonathan also coded the robot to be controlled using his voice. Elian Correa received second place for his robot that would move across sand while pushing recycling items into bins to keep the beaches clean. From Douglas Elementary School, Jose Vargas and Ernesto Duran took home third place for working together to invent a robot snake that would pick up trash bags from rivers, trees, and other dangerous locations.

Funding for this year's virtual Elementary Robotics Showcase was provided by the Tyler ISD Foundation Grant for Great Ideas program. The grant also provides a virtual robotics curriculum for Tyler ISD secondary students.

For more information, please contact Jennifer Hines at 903-262-1064.