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Pinkston Middle School’s Lil’ Bomb Squad will be hosting a spaghetti diner on June 15 to raise money to participate in the Asia Pacific Open Invitational Competition in Sydney Australia. To get to Australia, the Lil’ Bomb Squad will need to raise $50,000.
The Lil’ Bomb Squad is the first rookie Lego League team from Mountain Home Public Schools. The robotics group recently won the Rising All-Star Competition, allowing them to qualify for the competition in Australia.
Pinkston Middle’s Lil’ Bomb Squad sprung out of the hard work of Mountain Home School Teacher Chrissy Davis, who created Pinkston’s robotics course several years ago after the school asked if any teacher would be interested in putting together a Lego team for the FIRST Lego League for Pinkston Middle School.
FIRST Lego League is an organization that introduces science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to children ages 4-16 through fun, exciting hands-on learning. Participants gain real-world problem solving experience through a guided, global robotics program, helping today’s students and teachers build a better future together.
Davis first introduction to robotics began with her son, Eric Davis, during the fourth grade. Davis describes her son as “not a sit-down, be quiet, kind of a kid,” who struggled to find a place while attending school here in Mountain Home.
He would find his place after entering a FIRST program, which would open up the world of engineering and robotics to him. He is now seeking a degree in engineering as a college student.
Nestled in the back of the winding hallways of Pinkston Middle School, Davis’s classroom does not look like a typical middle school classroom.
Robots line the tables inside the classroom, while students break off into groups as they pour over their computers. In 2022, her students were working on getting a “Spiro” ball through mazes using math and computer coding.
The small balls zig zag across the tables, which have been covered with a maze pattern, as students attempt to figure out how to get the Spiro balls to move in through the maze.
In the back of the room sits a larger table that is filled with more advanced robots belonging to Pinkston Robotics, the school’s FIRST Lego League team.
During the class, students are graded on their ability to problem solve and on how they work together in their groups.
Classroom sizes run around 10 or so students per class, across sixth and seventh grade. While many of the students in Davis’s class signed up for the course, some students are placed in the program randomly.
If students wish to take the robotics program further, they can sign up to be a part of Pinkston Robotics, which meets twice a week after school at 5:30 p.m. Students can become eligible for several scholarships through participation with the robotics team.
While joining the robotics team is free, parents may be asked to help cover a portion of the cost of travel if the team makes it into a tournament.
The team raised over $20,000 to be able to compete in Australia several years ago.
Davis said her robotics classroom and team were gateways for students to join some of the bigger robotics programs in Mountain Home like the Bomb Squad.
Formed in 2000, FRC Team 16 or the “Bomb Squad” is Mountain Home’s first ever FIRST team and is the school district’s premier robotics team, that helped opened the door to the FIRST Lego League for the district’s other teams, like Pinkston Robotics.
The Lil’ Bomb Squad’s spaghetti dinner will be hosted in The Sheid at ASU-Mountain Home. During the evening the robotics team will host a silent auction and basket bingo. Tickets for basket bingo run $1. The evening will conclude with the team’s robot reveal. Dinner starts at 5:30.