A pure robotics class for middle schoolers is being launched for the first time in the Okaloosa County School district in Northwest Florida, and changing the study of robotics from an extra curricular activity to a part of the regular curriculum.

Designing Future AirplanesAt Shoal River Middle School in Crestview, the tech lab has hydraulic robots, bottle rockets, Legos, and bottle rockets throughout every corner. Teacher Laurie Allen now has approval to teach a robotics class, in addition to leading the school robotics team.

“It’ll be a research-based course but draws in a number of science, engineering and communication skills as well,” Allen said.

Middle school students in all grades can apply for the class, but they must make the commitment to be on the robotics team. Several district schools compete in robotics competitions, and teachers integrate those skills into regular classes, but there has been no formal class on robotics for middle school in the district until now.

Teams construct machines using Lego Mindstorms.  They use a lego-specific program language to program movements and actions.

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