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GMIS Hosts Interstate Robotics Competition

Two boys competing in the Vex Robotics tournament. They stand in a gym and pilot a small robot through plastic obstacles.
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Ashley Shannon

Emerging engineers from across Pennsylvania and New Jersey gathered at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School on Saturday, February 4, 2023, with hand-built robots and hope to take home the title of first-place winner.

The district hosted its first-ever competition through Vex Robotics, the Vex IQ Slapshot Competition. Vex Robotics is an educationally-based robotics company, offering STEM education and equipment to students ranging from Pre-K through collegiate levels and robotics competitions worldwide. The competition at Governor Mifflin Intermediate School attracted twenty teams, including Governor Mifflin’s four elementary and middle-grade teams.

Governor Mifflin School District has offered a robotics team for fifth and sixth-grade students since the 2018-2019 school year and first began competing in 2019. Team members from these early years have gone on to start a team at the high school level. Currently, Governor Mifflin School District is the only school district in Berks with a Vex Robotics team.

The competition ran from 8:30 AM through early afternoon and included two portions: individual skills challenges, which measure the capacities of each team and their robot, followed by team matches.

At the high school level, team matches are truly competitive, with robots going toe-to-toe to defeat their opponent. However, at the middle and elementary levels, two teams work together to score the most cumulative points possible.

“It’s a really collaborative form of competition,” said Sara Eastman, GMIS teacher and co-advisor for the Vex Robotics team, “the kids are paired up and they’ll discuss strategy. They’ll say ‘okay, what can your robot do?’ And they will work together from there.”

One of Governor Mifflin’s four teams advanced to the finals and placed in second. Delaware County Christian School took first in both divisions.

The Vex Robotics teams at Governor Mifflin School District are proudly supported by the Governor Mifflin Education Foundation (GMEF).

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