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NBMS Robotics Team advances to Regionals


Robotics teams and clubs have expanded to more schools in the district this year. One of the newly formed teams at NBMS competed on Jan. 20 against 24 other teams in the San Antonio region’s First LEGO League.

The team from NBMS, consisting of David Aguirre, Nathan Aguirre, Troy Barnhardt, Joshua Buikema, Ian Clark, Isaac Gunter, Solomon Johnson, Faith Lindblom and Cadin Smith, scored the highest of all the teams on the robot game portion of the competition that won them a spot at the regional competition on March 4. The team was also nominated for three different awards during the competition.

The competition consisted of two portions, robotic and research, that the team prepared for in advance. For the robotic portion, the team is given complex missions and objectives for their customized robot to complete in a set timeframe. The teams use Lego’s popular Mindstorms robotic kits. The kits contain software and hardware to create customizable moving robots that can perform programmed tasks by utilizing sensors.

The second portion is a research-based engineering project. This year’s theme is “Identifying and solving a problem within the human water cycle” and it challenged teams to solve an existing real-life problem.

The team is one of two at NBMS that meet every Wednesday for two hours after school. NBMS also has a robotics club that does not compete.

This team/club structure was modeled after the Walnut Springs Elementary School's robotics program. School Board Member Matt Sargent and his wife, Lisa Sargent, head up both programs. Two years ago, the Sargents helped develop the program at Walnut Springs Elementary, where their children attend school. The middle school program is run in coordination with NBMS Science Teacher John Donley. County Line Elementary has also started a program.

Matt Sargent, who is also an engineer, says that he’s about as excited as the students are when it comes to the program’s success.

“[Last weekend] the team won the robotic game portion in the last 10 seconds. You should have seen their reactions.”

Sargent added that the recent success with the middle school team has inspired all the other teams and clubs.

The other middle school team along with the Walnut Springs teams are set to compete on Feb. 17 at Ingleside ISD.

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