Decatur City Schools Robotics

E-News September 2015

This is the September edition of the Robotics Newsletter. Decatur City Schools has a robotics club in every elementary and middle school as well as DARC (the Decatur Austin Robotics Coalition), a high school team made up of students from both Austin and Decatur High Schools.

New Decatur City Schools Robotics Facebook Page

Please visit and "Like" our page! I have posted the pictures from the 2015 Robotics Expo there!

2016 Robotics Expo!

The Expo will be on March 14th (Pi Day!!!!!) at Ingall's Harbor. Please mark your calendars!


DCS will offer Lego EV-3 robotics training on October 6th at the Robotics Technology Park Auditorium (Calhoun Community College). There will be two identical sessions: 8:30-11:30 and 12:30-3:30. If more than one teacher is attending from the same school, please choose different sessions so that we can share subs.

The trainer is Laura Jackson from Lego Education, Kansas City. She is a retired science teacher and a 9- year First Lego League Coach and judge. I have spoken with Laura and she wants to customize this training to meet our specific needs. She will include activities using all the EV-3 sensors and tie this into activities that you can use with your school club.

The focus of each session will be on programming the EV-3. You will need to come to training with the following:

EV-3 Educator Vehicle (assembled from one of your EV-3 kits)

The directions can be found in the booklet that was included in the kit or download the instructions at:

Bring the remainder of the EV-3 kit also- we will be adding sensors and you will need those additional pieces!

Also, bring a laptop with the EV3 Software loaded.



  1. First, make sure that the EV3 is on and connected to the computer.

  2. Under Tools on the menu at the top of the screen, choose Firmware Update.
    A pop-up window will appear, showing you the current firmware on the EV3 and the version(s) available for download to the EV3.

  3. Select the firmware version you wish to use (probably the most recent one) and click Download.

  4. The EV3screen will go blank. As the firmware download progresses, the Preparing EV3 Brick and Downloading bars will chart its progress. Once the download is complete, a pop-up window will say “Firmware update successful!”

  5. Close both pop-up windows. Your EV3 firmware is now ready to use.


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Austinville Elementary School

Jeffrey Gilbreath, Sponsor

Banks-Caddell Elementary School

Joy Martin and Whitney Eddy, Sponsors

Benjamin Davis Elementary School

Andrea Richardson, Teacher

Ben Davis has a robotics class for all 2nd graders 75 minutes weekly during the 2nd 9 weeks. The 1st 9 weeks is spent teaching them about simple machines in STEM .

Chestnut Grove Elementary School

Kristi Adams and Mary Kate Collins, Sponsors

Eastwood Elementary School

Melissa Dickman, Jennie Roberts, Margaret Greer, Sarah Farrow,Patti Wilkins, and Tiffany Abernathy, Sponsors

Francis Nungester Elementary School

Allison Sain and Katherine Smith, Sponsors

Julian Harris Elementary School

Madhu Singh, Sponsor

Leon Sheffield Elementary Magnet School

Kent Sanders and Nathan Holmes, Sponsors

Somerville Road Elementary School

Diedre Davis, Sponsor

Walter Jackson Elementary School

Leah Payne, Sponsor

West Decatur Elementary School

Shannon Posey, Sponsor

Woodmeade Elementary School

Debra Shelton, Cristy Brown and Tonya Russell, Sponsors

EV3 Robotics Resources


Brookhaven Middle School

Cassandra Thrower, Sponsor

Cedar Ridge Middle School

Tammy Pickens, Sponsor

Oak Park Middle School

Amy Hill, Sponsor
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Oak Park Middle School and Cedar Ridge Middle School are participating in FLL this year!!

The best way to summarize FIRST LEGO League is to say that it is a robotics program for 9 to 16 year olds (9 to 14 in US/CAN/MEX), which is designed to get children excited about science and technology -- and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Teams, composed of up to ten students with at least one adult coach, can also be associated with a pre-existing club or organization, homeschooled, or just be a group of friends who wish to do something awesome.

In FLL, the students do the work! And the work is programming an autonomous robot (using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® robot set) to score points on a thematic playing surface, creating an innovative solution to a problem as part of their project, all while being guided by the FLL Core Values. These three elements - the Robot Game, Project, and FLL Core Values - make up what we call the FLL yearly Challenge.


DARC Robotics

Susan Haddock, Sponsor Kent Sanders, Assistant Coach

Joey Haddock, Steven Lamb, Doug Shoemaker,Marc Stewart, Anita Blunier, and Dana Stewart, Mentors

DARC participates in the BEST Robotics Competition

Take plywood and a box filled with items such as PVC pipe, screws and other hardware, an irrigation valve cover, piano wire, aluminum paint grid, a bicycle inner tube, a BRAIN (BEST Robotics Advanced Instruction Node programmable platform), and something called a micro-energy chain system and try, within six weeks, to design and build a functioning machine that can perform certain, specific tasks in three minutes. What do you get?

You get BEST, a middle and high school robotics competition whose mission is to engage and excite students about engineering, science, and technology as well as inspire them to pursue careers in these fields.

Through participation in our project-based STEM program, students learn to analyze
and solve problems utilizing the Engineering Design Process, which helps them develop technological literacy skills. It is these skills that industry seeks in its workforce.

Each fall, over 850 middle and high schools and over 18,000 students participate in the competition.

This year's theme is "Pay Dirt".

2015 Tennessee Valley BEST Kick-Off

Tennessee Valley BEST Kick-Off

Saturday, Sep. 19th, 9am

6250 U.S. 31

Tanner, AL

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Lego EV3 Robotics Training

Tuesday, Oct. 6th, 8:30am

6250 U.S. 31

Tanner, AL

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Tennessee Valley BEST Competition

Saturday, Oct. 31st, 9am

6250 U.S. 31

Tanner, AL

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

South's BEST Robotics Competition

Saturday, Dec. 5th, 8am

Auburn University, Auburn, AL, United States

Auburn, AL

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Decatur City Schools Robotics Expo 2016

Monday, March 14th 2016 at 6pm

701 Market Street Northwest

Decatur, AL