Portland East Middle School sponsored the Battle of the Bots on Saturday, Nov. 16. Nineteen teams participated in the Vex IQ competition hosted by PEMS for the first time. 

Vex IQ claims to be the world’s largest robotics competition. According to school sponsor Dale Sadler, the school plans to host the event again next year.

Schools participating in the event with PEMS were Mount Pleasant Middle School, South Gibson County Middle School, Grassland Middle School, Springfield Middle School and Valor Flagship Academy. Each team has two students. 

The teams use Vex IQ robots made of plastic interlocking pieces similar to Legos, which are designed for elementary and middle school students. The students design the robot and program the hard drive, which becomes the “brain” of the robot. The robot is controlled by a remote similar to a view game controller.   

Portland has been involved in Vex IQ robotics for two years. The teams meet weekly before and after school. There are 19 students involved in the program. 

Sadler said, “The Vex IQ program has proven to awaken a fire in our students for the STEM line of subjects and we think this is amazing.”

PEMS students Brayden Buckner and Noah Scearce earned a first place skills award and will be competing in the state championship on March 7 at Brentwood Academy.

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