On February 25th, more than 95 robotics teams from 38 cities around Indiana competed in the Indiana VEX IQ Elementary State Championship hosted by the State Robotics Initiative. The competition took place at the Campus Center at IUPUI with over 1,500 spectators in attendance.
The State Robotics Initiative (SRI) launched in 2016 as an expansion of the successful IndyVRC program begun in 2013 by then Mayor Greg Ballard. A partnership between the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, TechPoint Foundation for Youth, Project Lead The Way (PLTW), and Ivy Tech Community College drives the initiative with the goal of bringing robotics to every school in the state of Indiana, beginning with our youngest Hoosiers.
With significant seed funding secured from Guggenheim Life and Annuity and support from long-time robotics funders USA Funds, Roche Diagnostics and Eli Lilly and Company, the number of elementary VEX IQ robotics teams in Indiana grew 600% during the 2016-17 school year. In 2016, 443 VEX IQ robotics teams were started in 198 cities and towns across Indiana as a result of grants provided by the State Robotics Initiative. Participating schools received robotics kits, registration fees, teacher professional development, and PLTW classroom activities to incorporate robotics during the school day.
Indiana has become a national leader in robotics education for elementary students and is now home to a grand total of 518 VEX IQ elementary teams, 96 of which qualified to compete at the State Championship. The 26 winning teams from State will now move on to the World Competition in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 23-25, 2017. Indiana’s qualifying teams will compete there against 275 teams from more than 20 countries to take home some of the most coveted awards in youth robotics.
In addition to the championship, TechPoint Foundation for Youth hosted the 4th annual interactive STEM fair with more than 20 booths and over 500 students in attendance. The free event was open to the community and allowed students to experience hands-on, interactive science, math, and technology activities.
State Championship award winners
To learn more about the Statewide Robotics Initiative, visit the their webpage.