Students interact with live robot at the festival.

Dancing robots and STEM skills on display at annual Robotics and Computer Science Festival

March 11, 2024 – Doing dance offs with limber, four-legged robots was just one of the many STEM-related joys students enjoyed at the district’s annual Robotics and Computer Science Festival held this month.

More than 500 Team Duval students got a chance to showcase their work from their computer science courses and afterschool Robotics teams, as well as interact with technology brought to the event by community partners.

Keelan Burke, a ninth grader at Raines High School, said this was an eye-opening experience.

“It’s been fun here with a lot of cool technology,” said Burke. “I learned that technology can do a lot of crazy stuff, and it’s really fascinating how humans are able to control all of this and create more stuff in the future.”

The eye-popping exhibits, like the robot dogs and 3-D printing, were thanks to the district’s partnerships in the community.

“We’ve just been really fortunate to have such great business partners,” said Dr. Yvonne Spinner, Duval County Public Schools Director of Science. “When you walk around, you’ll see CSX, JEA, Haskell, hand2mind, Stem2Hub and all of these partners that come out here. We’re just fortunate that those organizations have volunteered their time and funding to come out here to support our Duval County students.”

Students said they learned a lot by visiting the interactive exhibits.

“I’m learning how to make household things,” said Ishika Patel, a fourth grader at R.V. Daniels Elementary School. “It’s really exciting because this could help me in the future, like if I don’t have something, I can just take some supplies and make a flashlight if the lights go out.”

Dr. Spinner said this event – along with the computer science courses and Robotics clubs – help stimulate a love of STEM in students early, which is the district’s goal.  

“If you don’t touch students in elementary school with STEM education, by the time they get to middle and high school–either they don’t like science, they don’t like technology, or they don’t have enough skills to engage in those programs,” said Dr. Spinner.  “Then we don’t get kids in our important fields.”

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