Middle School STEAM Teams Build VEX Robotic Toys

A prime example of Missouri Military Academy’s (MMA) advancement of STEAM* programs can be found in the middle school robotics course, which teaches cadets engineering, programming and design principles. 

Recently, cadets in robotics used their knowledge of mechanisms to build functioning toys from VEX robotics parts. Working in small teams, cadets built a Zelda with a moving sword, carnival swing ride, tank and car with a chain drive. 

This project had some constraints — it had to be made entirely from VEX robotic kit parts (click here to learn more about VEX kits), it had to be built on a four wheel chassis, it had be pulled and functional on a smooth surface, and it had to have a mechanism attached to the wheel axle as well as the mechanism to move the toy. They also had to include an illustration to make the toy more realistic. 

“In this course, cadets use tools such as the engineering design process, a digital engineering notebook and VEX Robotics programming software to invent and innovate,” said Robotics Instructor Jessica Miller. “The coursework can be difficult – which ultimately makes them stronger students – but they enjoy applying what they are learning through these kind of fun, hands-on exercises.”  

*MMA's strategic plan includes a focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to support cadets' academic achievement and empower them with knowledge and skills to enter college and the workforce with the ability to implement and deliver their ideas to the world. Learn more. 

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