Fifth graders in West Hills are building robots

WEST HILLS, Calif. (KABC) -- Pomelo Community Charter is running an after-school program that teaches students how to program, design, and assemble small robots. The program was set up by VEX IQ, a company that's goal is to get young people excited about the stem fields.

All of the students involved are in fifth grade and the robotics coach, Jim Holcombe, believes this program will set them up for a bright future.

"Eventually if they keep it up through middle school and they go into high school...oh my goodness it's a one-way ticket to get into college because everybody's using technology these days," says Jim Holcombe, fifth grade teacher and robotics coach at Pomelo.

The program is also set up with state, national and world competitions for the students to compete in. Pomelo's team has already won a state competition, and is headed to Iowa for VEX IQ nationals in April 2019.

Pomelo is currently raising money on a GoFundMe page to help with the travel expenses to get to both Nationals in Iowa, and later the world competition in Kentucky.

"There are different games, so this type of game requires different types of bots. And right now, the point of the game is to try to get these hubs into the little scoring cubes," Jayden Varda, fifth grader on Pomelo's robotics team.

The competitions also form alliances with the other teams they are competing with. Instead of going against another team during a game, a competitor from each team is paired up to work with each other forming the alliance.

Therefore, students from different teams have to work together to get the most points.
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