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Robotics and STEM

Tinkering Engineers

The path towards a passion for STEM starts early at Potomac. Curious minds are sparked through fun and intentional tinkering and engineering. 

Students have many opportunities to engage in science, technology, engineering, and math activities both in the classroom and in co-curricular activities. By building a student's tool box and STEM skill set, students will competently and confidently achieve technology standards and skills in exciting ways.



The Upper School Robotics team 12H finished as division champions and advanced to the finals at the VEX Robotics World Championships in Dallas – the largest robotics competition in the world. They finished second in the world – a school and Virginia State record. The event was presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation and the REC Foundation, and some sponsors include NASA and Google. Congrats to our robotics program!

Tech and Innovation

Tech and Innovation LS Robotics


Through teamwork, play, and problem solving, robots help students develop key thinking skills in the exciting field of coding and robotics. In K-5 technology classes, all students engage with VEX robotics through building and coding challenges. Students in grades 6-12 have the opportunity to join a competitive robotics team, offering a motivating environment to learn and push STEM skills to new levels.

What the vex?

By its nature, the study of robotics inherently incorporates all four pillars of STEM. VEX IQ is a snap-together robotics system designed to provide an opportunity for future engineers of all skill levels. Through incorporating advanced concepts into an accessible package, the system also naturally encourages teamwork, problem solving, and leadership.

Working with the VEX IQ platform gives the students a foundation in engineering design and programming at the Middle School age that will continue in the Intermediate School and directly translate to VEX Robotics in the Upper School. The VEX IQ platform introduces students to VEXCODE programming, which uses a standard coding system that can expand into Python.

Why Robotics?

Co-oper-tition and generosity of spirit

There is a tern in robotics: co- oper- tition. It is preparing, training and doing your very best in a contest while also showing deep kindness and respect, to your opponent, especially when it matters. 

Our robotics program sent two teams to compete in the national finals of the U.S. Open Robotics championship. Both teams were well-prepared, skilled and highly competitive eager, to win the championship.  In that final match, one team- perhaps the stronger team, had a malfunction- their robot needed to be repaired and could not continue without a timeout. The team used a 30 second timeout, but unfortunately, they did not have enough time to make all the necessary repairs.

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Potomac Robotics Tournament IS Recap

As shared in our featured stories, Potomac hosted a VEX Robotics competition last weekend.

Three IS teams earned a spot in the elimination rounds with teams 13C: Here for the Cake (Arya Bhargava ‘29, Max Kussman ‘29, and CJ Lee ‘29), and 13D: Danger Ducks (Ronnie Bandi ‘29, Woodley Bohannon ‘28, Hugh Holtman ‘29, Robert Murtagh ‘29, and Alex Runde ‘29) climbing their way to the semifinals before being eliminated. Team 13K: 13K Gold (Helena Backus ‘28, Matthew Bodi ‘28, Michael McIntire ‘28, David Murtagh ‘28, and Imani Nzekwe ‘28 made it to the elimination round, and Team 13A: ATM (Esther Choi ‘28, Jacob Cordero ‘28, Jasper Majeed-Hall ‘28, Sawyer Pearce ‘28, and Matthew Seeber ‘28), was also chosen as an alliance team in the elimination round. 

Team 13B: Barbie Bots (Marissa McEwen ‘28, Raine McKeown ‘29, and Farrah Gardner ‘29) earned the Judges Award, which is given to the team that, in the opinion of the judges, is deserving of special recognition for overcoming obstacles, and showcasing effective communication skills, teamwork, professionalism, and exemplary effort. Enjoy photos from the tournament. 

IS student Anika Agrawal ’28 competed with Potomac's varsity debate team in the George Mason University Patriot Games Speech and Debate tournament this past weekend. Agrawal finished 23rd in individual sweeps, a remarkable performance for an eighth grader in a field of over 600 high school speakers and debaters from 13 states. Agrawal finished the tournament with a quarter-final round placement in extemp speaking and a semi-final round appearance in impromptu speaking. 

Grade 8 Robotics at VEX Competition

Eighth graders are taking their shot at VEX robotics competitions just like the Upper School students. Learn more about the recent challenge they’ve been working on called the "Spin Up." This challenge involves programming, driving, and teamwork skills. To succeed, students must interact with other teams to strategize and earn the best collective scores in addition to finding their best individual team solutions. During their first competition over the weekend, students from all three of the eighth grade teams (13A, 13B, 13C) made it to the semifinals in the single elimination portion of the tournament. In the finals match, 13B and 13C faced each other in opposing alliances. Students in 13B (Jacob Jackson, Nikhil Kothari, and Sophia Sultan) came out on top to emerge as teamwork champions, qualifying them for the VA state tournament this spring. 

Grade 8 robotics team members include: Jackson, Sam Kim, Ege Kirgiz, Kothari, Shlok Kuchangi, Julian Mankovsky, Kate Myslewicz, Advay Sharma, Luke Steindler, Sultan, and Lance Weimer.

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