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Superintendent's Message                   November 2, 2018


VEX Robotics

I have written in a previous Falcon Focus about the many extra-curricular clubs and sports that happen at all of our schools throughout the year. These activities foster physical development, intellectual growth, social engagement, and civic responsibility. One of the clubs that is available at all three schools is VEX Robotics. This club is a robotics competition under the umbrella of the International Robotics Education and Competition Foundation. The unique aspects of this club are the participation of a wide range of age levels, rigorous cognitive pursuits combined with hands-on activities, and spirited team competition. Robotics embodies the STEM approach to education where science, technology, engineering and math are fully integrated into a learning environment.

At McDowell Mountain teams of 2nd and 3rd graders receive robot missions, where under the guidance of Mrs. Cooper and Mrs. Pauli, students design and build their robots and put them through a variety of missions which are judged against teams from around the world. This requires advanced computer coding skills and engineering design for their robots affectionately named Dash and Dot. The entire process draws upon creativity, problem solving, use of the scientific method and journaling about the experience.

The Middle School teams under the direction of Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Violette involve about 30 students in six teams from grades 4-8. These teams build their robots per detailed specifications, run challenge simulations and document the designs in their engineering notebooks. VEX IQ Challenges are set up so that teams share the points they earn so they must collaborate and strategize how to accumulate as many points as they can. Teams also began autonomous robot programming earlier this season writing the code to move their robots about the field without the controllers. The Middle School is also pleased to share that this is the first year they will be hosting a VEX IQ Middle and Elementary School tournament at FHMS. They will host 24 visiting teams, along with our 6 teams at the Middle School on Saturday, January 19, 2019. The event includes a planning team made up of parents and community supporters.

Moving along the continuum of this student experience, High School robotics is also in full swing with Dr. Paul McElligott guiding the students. The team has five students led this year by Austin Johnson who is a two year veteran and well capable of leading the team. The High School competition is called "turning point" where the robots must scale a platform, turn over heavy objects and shoot balls at flags for points. Their schedule this year involves four FHHS sponsored home games as well as 2 away games.

In FHUSD "We Achieve and Celebrate Educational Excellence" and the VEX Robotics clubs are a vibrant piece of the FHUSD student experience. Robotics enhances student creativity, collaboration, critical thinking and competition while reinforcing the STEM curriculum both in and out of the classroom.


Rob Allen, Ed.D.
Looking Ahead
View Upcoming  Events
November 8 & 9
Fall Dance Concert, 7:00 p.m. @ FHHS Big Gym
November 14
Governing Board Mtg., 6:30 p.m. @ FHUSD Learning Center
November 21-23 
Thanksgiving Break/No School

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