Josephine Blackham and Kent Grantz from the Dexter Robotic Eagles begin round two during the robotics segment of the competion.

FORT BENNING, Ga., (Jan. 15, 2014) -- Two Fort Benning schools made it to the Science and Technology First Lego League Robotics competition Saturday.

The competition is made up of three parts: Core values, robotics and a research project. This year's theme was "Nature's Fury."

Marie Hand, the coach for the Roaring Lion Brainiacs at White Elementary School, said the competition incorporates science, math, technology and engineering like the STEM program all post schools participate in.

Each school had a different focus for their research project. White elementary students created a link on the American Red Cross website to help children be prepared for natural disasters. Dexter elementary students came up with a solution for handling volcanic eruptions.

"(Billie) Bidleman is a really good coach," said fourth-grader Annabelle Vigil-Shuck from Dexter about their school's coach. "She pushes us if we start goofing off a little bit. She's nice but serious and a little strict when she needs to be."

The hardest part, said students on both teams, was the robotics segment.

"Most of the time it was on pure luck," said Josephine Blackham, fifth-grader and team captain for the Dexter Robotic Eagles.

Josephine was in all three rounds of the robotics segment.

Annabelle said their robot, Rover, performed better at practice.

"We actually think Rover is kind of shy," Annabelle said. "Robots can be shy too because he messes up at the competition and we wish he wasn't like that."

Lexi Carow, a fifth-grader at White Elementary School said similar about their team's robot.

"With the robot you'll never know because you can do the mission and it can work perfectly (at the school) but you get to competition and it doesn't work the same," she said.

Both teams went up against middle school-aged children, Hand said.

And some of the teams had more complex robots than the elementary schools and were able to perform more missions, said White elementary fourth-grader Maddox Fenell.

Even with unpredictable robots and older competition, everyone kept their cool, Hand said.

White Elementary School placed 10th and Dexter Elementary School placed 15th out of more than 30 teams. White also received the teamwork trophy.

For more information about the competition, visit

Page last updated Wed January 15th, 2014 at 17:27