It’s a winning record built on a nurturing environment that encourages Ross middle and high school students to dive deep into one of the more fun but nevertheless instructional aspects of the digital world, said Jennifer Noxsel, a veteran teacher advisor for after-school program for the last 16 years.
“Ross is unique in the area of doing this. We call ourselves Ross Rambotics,” a play on the name of the district’s Rams mascot.
“At the middle school level we have what is called the First Lego League and at the high school they do FIRST Robotics competition and the two teams work together, said Noxsel, who is also a speech pathologist instructor at both Ross Middle School and Ross High School.
While middle schoolers use the toy Legos combined with electronics to create robots that compete with other school-based clubs, the Ross high school members of Rambotics create their robots from scratch, using welded metal, engines and electronics controlled remotely in high-tech competitions.
Ross has hosted competitions since 2009 and the next Lego middle school contest will be free and open to the public starting at 9 a.m. Nov. 18 with an opening ceremony and parade of a dozen southwest Ohio teams and including one from Columbus.
The Rambotics Regional FIRST LEGO League Tournament at Ross Middle School gym is a first step for winning teams to possibly advance forward to district and state competitions, with a shot at winning their way to a national robotics contest in the spring.
Each teams’ robot will try to maneuver and perform contest tasks and are judged with scoring where the highest total advances to the next round of competition.
The Rambotics team is sponsored locally by sponsored by Watson Gravel, Inc., Ross Lions Club, Ross Schools, and Proctor & Gamble.
The value of creating and operating robotics extends well beyond growing of the teens’ digital skills, said Noxsel.
“These kids actually do a research project around a specific theme. The teams do real-world research where they are going to visit engineers and interview professionals. It’s not just doing internet stuff.”
“And these kids learn amazing presentation and communication skills. They learn how to interview and how to ask questions and then how to present what they’ve learned to other people,” she said.
“Plus, it’s fun and they develop a lot of camaraderie with their classmates.”