Learning STEM by Battling Robotic Cars and Exploring VR

6 May 2019
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Young Engineers, the Boys and Girls Club, and Lenovo brought STEM to life for NC middle schoolers

On Lenovo’s Morrisville, NC campus, 20 middle school students focused intensely on instructions to build small, battle-ready robotic vehicles out of Legos and electric engine parts. One student, notoriously shy and reserved, assembled his Lego car with unparalleled speed and skill. He quickly snapped wheels into place, mounted sensors, and prepared the programmable “brain” of the DIY car for combat.

“He was the first one finished, first one to program, first one to update—just very impressive,” said Leland Davis, director of Young Engineers of Raleigh-Durham. “We’ll definitely have a conversation about his future in STEM.”

That student was far from alone in enjoying the activities and rising to the challenge. Small teams collaborated and raucously celebrated whenever their vehicle pushed an opponent’s rig out of the ring. They then used tablets to adjust the programming and dive back into the battle royale.

The STEM Day event on March 25, a collaboration between Lenovo, the Boys and Girls Club of Durham and Orange Counties, and Young Engineers, brought students and 19 Lenovo volunteers together.

Learning STEM by Battling Robotic Cars and Exploring VR
Lenovo’s Xavier Skinner working with a student

Beyond the Lego cars, students donned virtual reality headsets to explore bug-filled caves and navigate computer-generated worlds.

“Just being able to see the kids get super excited about this—seeing them interact and program and build robots—was awesome,” said Lenovo’s Victor Garza, who helped organize the event. “I want to thank the Boys and Girls Club for coming, Intel for sponsoring the entire event, and Lenovo for creating the opportunity.”

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