A Look Into the Digi-Bridge Robotics Program!

Digi-Bridge competition robotics programming is back and better than ever! After launching in 2019 and suspending the program through COVID, we’ve been able to take time for reflection and improvement. We are excited to share that we have restarted the program, with a focus on encouraging middle school students to explore their interests and strengths and become future STEM leaders!

Why Robotics?

Robotics will most likely revolutionize our society within the next decade. It is predicted that many of the jobs of today will be automated by 2030, but that doesn’t mean there will be less jobs. New higher level jobs, which will require robotics expertise, will replace lost jobs.

But robotics isn’t only changing the jobs of the future; it is also creating a new industry in today’s market. Jobs in robotics have grown 14% each year since 2019.

According to research conducted by FIRST, Students who participate in FIRST LEGO League teams are prepared for greater success in the classroom and workforce. Interest, rather than academic proficiency, is a greater predictor of children pursuing studies and careers in STEM fields. Positive impacts are evident for all FIRST students regardless of race, gender, income, or community type. Specifically, Female FIRST participants are 2.2 times more likely to have significantly stronger STEM interest than comparison group peers, and more likely to have stronger outcomes in STEM attitudes, knowledge and interests compared to their peers.

More about our updated program

Digi-Bridge designed our program to offer scholars a fun, engaging experience where they explore all aspects of being on a robotics team. When a team starts, each student has access to their own computer and LEGO Spike Prime robotics kit so that they can get hands-on experience with building and coding. As the meetings progress, students have more defined roles on the team as builders, coders or innovation project managers.

Each team has two coaches. Coaching provides a fantastic, paid professional development opportunity for teachers in the Charlotte area. All our coaches are trained, certified teachers and we provide customized support to successfully start and manage a FIRST LEGO League robotics team.

The teams use the FIRST LEGO League curriculum, which explores the core values of the program: discovery, fun, innovation, impact, inclusion, and teamwork.

To participate on one of the Digi-Bridge teams, students filled out an application that included their previous relevant experience, a personal statement about why they wanted to participate, as well as a teacher recommendation. The teams meet for 10-15 sessions to work together to design and code a robot to solve various challenges on a competition table. The culmination of their hard work will be a Digi-Bridge competition and showcase held in early April.

Thanks to investment from Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Lowe’s and United Way, we are able to host these programs completely free of charge for both students and schools.

Who do we serve?

Since relaunching the program, we have teams offering it to five school teams and one community based team. The community team meets at the Digi-Bridge offices and includes scholars from a variety of schools. The five school teams are housed at Governors Village STEM Academy, Renaissance West STEAM Academy, and Northridge Middle School.

We are thrilled to be able to host these programs and work with students again to solve complex programs and build amazing robots!

On Apr 2, 2022 we will host our robotics challenge showcasing all of our students’ progress. Please stay tuned for details on attending!

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