Drive Forward Friday: The VEX Robotics Educators Conference & More

Welcome to another newsletter! Let’s get into this edition’s topics!

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2024 VEX Robotics Educators Conference

Beyond Boundaries: Teams from Around the World

Engineering Notebooks

Calling All VEX Robotics Coaches!

The 2024 VEX Robotics Educators Conference

Coming to Dallas, Texas, from April 29 to May 1 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center during the 2024 VEX Robotics World Championship, the VEX Robotics Educators Conference is for K-12 educators using VEX Robotics in their classroom or even thinking about getting started with robotics. Going beyond professional development – it’s an event designed with the needs of teachers in mind. The goal is to showcase how educators from all backgrounds can keep pace in the classroom and beyond with the fast-evolving world of educational robotics. Here are a few of the presenters scheduled to appear this year, along with their topics:

Rebecca Grella

Chief Executive Officer at Foundation for Equality Resources for Community Based-needs

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, Placement DoD STEM

What Can DoD STEM Do for You? From Funding to Educator Resources to Student Opportunities

Maya Israel

Associate professor of educational technology and CS Education

University of Florida

Strategies for Including K-12 Learners with Disabilities in Robotics

David Weintrop

Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning, Policy & Leadership

University of Maryland

The Case for Block-based Programming

Marco Diez

Executive Director

Miami Dade County Public Schools

Develop & Implement a Virtual Robotics Event for Your District

Jonathan Kennedy Sowah

Executive Director


Driving Inclusive STEM for Underserved Communities

Marquita Jones

Assistant Principal

Phoenix STEM Military Academy

Implementing VEX Robotics: A Discussion Taking Classroom Theory to Real-World Practice

Dan Mantz

CEO of the Robotics Education and Competition (REC) Foundation

REC Foundation

Benefits of VEX Robotics Competitions for Students

Seth Ogoe Ayim

CEO and Cofounder (STEM and Computing Educator)

Bountiful Technologies and Bountiful STEM Educational Foundation

Enhancing Learning and Innovation: The Impact of STEM in Ghanaian Classrooms

Mai Vu

AI Program Manager

Innovation Center of St. Vrain Valley School District

VEX ID: Utilizing AI to Develop a VEX IQ Parts Identifier

Dr. Rabieh J. Hafza

Director of STEM & Innovative Practice

Henry County Schools

Using Robotics to Build Physics Aptitude

See even more speaker line-ups and stay up-to-date with new information here.

At the core of this event is a hands-on approach to learning. Educators will have the chance to roll up their sleeves in workshops that are as practical as they are enlightening. These sessions send you back to your classroom equipped with the latest in robotics teaching tools, techniques, and insights that you can use to light up your students’ learning experiences.

One of the highlights? The chance to sit down one-on-one with the folks behind VEX Robotics. These personalized meetings are golden opportunities to tackle your unique teaching challenges head-on, brainstorm solutions, and figure out how to make VEX Robotics work harder for you and your students. It proves the conference’s commitment to giving you the support that makes a real difference.

Take advantage of the Partner Hall, where you’ll find a treasure trove of real-world classroom applications and strategies shared by fellow educators and partners. It’s a fantastic opportunity to pick up new ideas for integrating robotics into your teaching, making your classroom an even more engaging and dynamic learning place. 

The VEX Robotics Educators Conference is more than an event; it’s a meeting of minds and a sharing of passions among educators who are all about exploring, learning, and inspiring one another. It recognizes the complex, sometimes tricky world of teaching robotics, offering a supportive space for you to grow professionally. For educators committed to pushing the envelope in STEM & CS education with fresh, innovative approaches, this conference is an invaluable chance to connect with like-minded peers, soak up new insights, and head back to your classroom re-energized with practical, innovative ideas.

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Beyond Boundaries: Teams from Around the World

With the VEX Robotics World Championship on the horizon, we’re taking time to shine a spotlight on some standout teams from around the world! Every team has their own story to tell, with unique challenges that arise from their own geographic and personal circumstances. 

We are proud to shine a spotlight on a few of these incredible teams’ stories sent in to us from across the globe!


VRC Team 1599V SSIS Dragons from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam was created by combining former teams 76209R and 76209M. This team prides themselves on their creative gameplay strategies. Their hard work and ingenuity has led them to achieve goals like their victory at the 2023 Vietnam VEX National Tournament. The team members come from a variety of grades and cultural backgrounds, which the team says helps them be more creative and helps them learn how to embrace differences within a team.

Their goal is to inspire others to pursue STEM by engaging with their community and peers with workshops, demonstrations, and outreach initiatives, all with the message that STEM is an exciting and highly rewarding field.

United Kingdom

Team 15650C Memento Mori from London, United Kingdom is an independent VRC team who are proud to have a 96.7% win rate over 61 matches so far in the 2023–2024 season. They say they learned the importance of time management and design planning from last season and have been able to have ample time to fine tune their robot, coding, and strategy. 

Through robotics, they say they’ve learned how to think more innovatively and how to compete at an international level. Next, they hope to earn a Triple Crown (Excellence Award, Tournament Champions, and Skills Champions) at the 2024 UK National Championship taking place in early March.


VEX U Team TMAT 1 from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico started in 2011 as a small group of students attending Universidad Tecnologica de Matamoros. Since then, the organization has earned awards at national and international levels and now has around 50 students participating. 

The teams focus their designs on creativity and innovation and encourage the exploration of unusual ideas. For many members, robotics has helped them find meaning and enjoyment in creation and has taught them teamwork and problem solving skills.

They’re proud to have been recognized as one of the best teams in Mexico during National Championships over the years. They hope to continue to grow as a team, both in terms of numbers and knowledge.

United Arab Emirates

VRC Team 2071C Ebda3 from Sharjah, United Arab Emirates was formed when a group of classmates found a shared interest in robotics and decided to start up their own VEX Robotics Competition team. As a team, they’ve honed problem solving skills, perseverance, and resilience and found empowerment through their boosted confidence and a supportive community. Their robot stands out with a bright pink and purple color scheme and the team prides themselves on their innovative designs, which earned them a Judges Award at their very first competition.

The team’s primary goal is to inspire others and make their country proud by showcasing the capabilities of girls in STEM through their achievements. They aim to pave the way for more opportunities for girls in STEM, showcase the diversity that is present in the field of robotics, and leave a lasting impact on their community.

United States

VRC Team 5203G Gremlin from McDonough, Georgia, USA is part of a long-established robotics group that seeks to pass down knowledge and provide opportunities for younger students in the organization. They take a streamlined approach to VRC Over Under, focusing on efficiency with design and strategy choices like a fast pneumatic-powered horizontal hang mechanism that elevates their bot to B or C tier in less than one second.

This team was formed by merging two former VIQRC teams and has 9 current members, which presented some challenges with organization, defining member roles, and finding group cohesion. Since tackling these challenges, they’ve gone on to earn the title of Tournament Champions at this year’s Haunted and Sugar Rush Signature Events. Since qualifying for the 2024 VEX Robotics World Championship, their next goal is to compete in the VEX Dome as finalists!

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Engineering Notebooks

Engineering Notebooks showcase the hard work that students put into designing and fine tuning their incredible robots. These documents help young engineers record and present their hypotheses, trials, solutions, and conclusions. Along the way, they develop their project management, brainstorming, written communication, and interpersonal skills.

In competitions, these notebooks are a crucial part of the judging process, displaying the teams’ thought process and reasoning behind their design choices. There are even awards granted to teams that take Engineering Notebooks into consideration! Teams can choose to create their notebook through physical methods, with paper and pencil, or choose to go digital.

Digital Notebooks offer benefits some teams find helpful in their process, including the ability to virtually collaborate with teammates, access your notebook at any time, search for keywords, and easily share it with others. Plus, you’ll never lose track of your Digital Notebook or lose it in the middle of a hectic competition! Our Digital Notebook Templates are available for Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint.

Find Engineering Notebook resources at

To get started with a Digital Engineering Notebook, head to

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Calling All VEX Robotics Coaches!

Hey, VEX Robotics coaches! We’re eager to hear your insights. Coaching a team is no small feat, and your daily dedication doesn’t go unnoticed. What wisdom would you pass on if you were chatting with a newbie coach? We’re curious about two things:

1. What’s your top tip for someone considering starting a VEX Robotics team?

2. Looking back, what’s one technical nugget you wish you knew from the get-go?

Ready to share your thoughts? Jump in here. With enough responses, we’ll spotlight your valuable advice in our upcoming emails over the next few months. Here’s to creating a wealth of invaluable coaching insights together!

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Here’s what we covered in last month’s Drive Forward Friday: