TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Harrison Elementary was a popular place Thursday evening, as students and their parents from several different schools gathered for a robotics expo.

More than a dozen teams attended the event, each with their movable Lego creations for a fun evening with their peers. The two-hour expo gave students the chance to show off their robots and see other teams in action; but, according to their parents and teachers, the things students learn in the process of creating are more valuable than the event itself.

“This isn’t really a competition,” said Greg Greer, one of the referees, noting that competitions are usually held at the end of the year. “This is basically a play day.”

Eva Filas, a fourth-grade teacher from Sawtooth Elementary, was at the expo with third- through fifth-grade students from her school. They had competed in one event by 6:45 p.m. and were waiting for their second round. Each team competed twice. She said incorporating robotics into education sparks many benefits for students. Among other things, they learn team work and problem-solving skills.

Jackson Martin, one of Sawtooth’s students, echoed similar sentiments. “It teaches you how to work as a team and how to get along,” he said. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, Martin said; sometimes it’s difficult to work with some of his peers. His favorite things to build are “dinosaurs and futuristic things.”

Other students from the Sawtooth team shared what they like best about robotics.

“I like learning about the different things you can do, and I like programming,” said Xavier Ogomo.

Adam Wright said he also likes programming and building, while his brother James Wright said he likes “all of it.”

Iman Rashad, the only girl on the team at the event Thursday, said she likes all of the above but also enjoys competing with other teams.

Her mom, Lubna Rashid, said she appreciates what robotics has taught her daughter, such as the confidence it has given her. Working in a group, students learn to overcome differences of opinion and still create as a team.

“I’ve seen a lot of teamwork and communication,” she said, “and it teaches students how to cope with difficult situations. … It’s a very good team.”

The Twin Falls School District, University of Idaho Extension Office and 21st Century Community Learning Center partnered for the event. More robotic events are planned by U of I Extension, including these:

Upcoming Robotic Events

WeDo Camps, ages 5-8
9-11:30 a.m. June 6-10 (Monday-Friday)
1-3:30 p.m. June 6-10 (Monday-Friday)
1-3:30 p.m. July 25-29 (Monday-Friday)
* 20 participants per camp

EV3 Camps, ages 9-12
9-11:30 a.m. June 6-10 (Monday-Friday)
1-3:30 p.m. June 6-10 (Monday-Friday)
* 12 participants per camp

Robotics Clubs, ages 9-12
2:30-4:30 p.m. July 6-Aug. 18 (Monday and Wednesday)
9-11 a.m. July 5-Aug. 18 (Tuesday and Thursday) 
2:30-4:30 p.m. July 5-Aug. 18 (Tuesday and Thursday)
* 10 participants per camp