Robotics program taking off at Clarendon Jr. High School

As the world of technology continues to evolve, we're expected to do the same. Students at Clarendon Junior High School are doing that with a robotics program called, "GEAR".

"GEAR" or Get Excited About Robotics program is in it's first year. It's coordinated by Texas Tech University of Engineering. Pronews 7 is featuring the program in this week's Region 16 Spotlight on Education.

It's the latest thing that schools are picking up, robotic programs. That's because there's an increased interest in STEM, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Clarendon Junior High is one of those schools.

"They're using a kit from Texas Tech and its basically just some LEGO pieces and a brain and some lego motors and they program the robot from LEGO software on their Mac book," said Junior High Science Teacher, Kamy Whatley.

The students use a trial and error method to program them.

"They manipulate variables such as how many rotations the motor turns the degree of angle that the tires need to turn how many rotations forward its going to go," said Whatley.

"Its all just a step by step thing. Like if you get one small thing off, then you have to back and reprogram and run the program again and keep doing it until you get it right," said 8th grader, Taylon Knorpp.

"I think it teaches us to think outside the box to use our creativity but also it teaches us how to use the scientific method where we just have to try to keep trying until we get it right".

It's that process that's helping teach the students critical thinking that goes along with passing the rigor of the STAAR.

"The STAAR test does test at a much higher level they do have to analyze more. They have to be able to use those higher thinking skills and that's exactly what this is, is that use of higher order thinking skills to program that robot," said Whatley.

The students are programming their robots to do advance medical procedures.

"They have to remove plaque they have to insert a stint they have to remove a blood clot, they have to change out a pace maker install a lung graph and also deliver antibiotics to a wounded area".

The students will compete this weekend in a contest at Texas Tech. They're given a two minute time period to complete robotic task related to medicine like stints, and skin graphs.