Out of hundreds of elementary students from around the world, two Forsyth County STEM students were recently awarded a top prize for their project to help quicken the response time of first responders using engineering and math.
Local school officials say that Coal Mountain Elementary students Landon Dykes, 11, and Nathan Lee, 10, were awarded the STEM Research Award at the VEX IQ Robotics World Championship held April 28 in Louisville, Ky.
According to Coal Mountain Elementary School VEX IQ Robotics Coach Nancee T. Worley, Dykes and Lee were one of 410 teams invited to participate in the annual robotics competition where they went head to head in challenges with students from 23 different countries.
"It is an experience unlike what most elementary school kids would have ever experienced," Worley said on Tuesday. "I am more than proud, I was absolutely blown away.”
She said that this year the Coal Mountain Robotics program consisted of nine fourth- and fifth-grade students, but throughout the year Dykes and Lee’s team shone brightly, first winning the Georgia State STEM Award and then being accepted to the world championship.
In addition to the robotic challenges the two students participated in at the world championship, Dykes and Lee were also one of 70 teams whose STEM research project was accepted to be judged at the competition.
“They did compete in all the other areas ... but what qualified them to attend was the phenomenal STEM project that they wrote and produced," she said.
Dykes and Lee’s STEM project, which forced them to identify a problem and solve it using math, was done in conjunction with the Forsyth County Fire Department. The two students devised a way for firefighters and emergency responders to quickly scale sets of stairs in large buildings using a piston-driven platform.
At the end of the competition, one STEM Research Award was given to a team in each of the competition's five divisions, with Dykes and Lee chosen as winners in the Hubble Division.
"I am very proud of my boys," she said. "You don't just build a robot and drive it on the field; it's to solve a problem and to begin to learn how to work as teammates."