Borger Middle School's robotics program gains popularity

Our Panhandle schools like to think they're keeping pace with 21st century students. Robotics just might be a good way to do that. In recent years, schools have been introducing robotics into their classrooms. Borger Middle School has been doing it for five years. It's this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education.

The ever changing world of technology. It's a battle just to keep up. Its even tougher for school districts with small budgets. Borger Independent School District thinks it's winning that battle with robotics.

"In our day in age technology is just huge to these kids. I mean they go home and its video games, TV's, their phones. Everywhere I turn their phones are out. So to stay up with kids and help them keep learning, robotics just seems to fit perfectly into that," said 7th Grade Robotics Teacher, Kara Thompson.

Borger Middle School's 7th graders use Science, Math, and critical thinking to program their robots to do various tasks.

"We make it go forwards and backwards two different types of turns, clap on/clap off. We have a line sensor, or that allows it to follow the line. We talk about gear ratio, so what gear can go faster and pull things," said Thompson.

The class is only a semester long. But Thompson said, it's so popular, students fight to get in.

"Building the robot and engineering it. It gives me a challenge. It feels like I achieved a goal, a good one," said 7th Grade Student, Cagen Wallace.

"I like building the robot because its fun and sometimes it confuses me so, it's a challenge to build it," said 7th Grade Student, Aaron Fraire.

It's that challenge, Thompson said, that helps build the kind of thinking that's essential to pass the STAAR.

"STAAR test is all about taking one thing and another thing and putting it together and having to come up with some answer. And so they're able to do that here," said Thompson.

The popularity of that robotics class now has the district trying to get a similar program started at the high school.