Robotics and Engineering
The goals of the Robotics and Engineering program are for students to: learn to use technology to solve problems, develop computer programming skills, and learn the principles of engineering. The program is entirely hands-on and project based. Students will learn skills through tackling complex and high-interest tasks. Many projects are team based (usually in groups of two or three) though some skills are learned through individual projects.
Students use various materials including LEGO WeDo, LEGO Mindstorms NXT and EV3 kits, electronic components (wires, bulbs, batteries, resistors, etc.) household materials, and computers. Various software programs are used including the WeDo and EV3 programming languages and Scratch, a computer programming and animation environment for students.
Older students participate annually in competitions such as STEMfest (sponsored by The Works in Newark) and Robofest (sponsored by Lawrence Technical University in Southfield, Michigan). These programs provide exciting challenges for groups of students to solve. In addition to solving the challenges themselves, these programs provide students the opportunity to learn skills involved in organizing and presenting their projects to judges and the public.
This program includes both interesting challenges and free choice about projects and activities. Students are encouraged to pursue their interests and express their creativity within a framework designed to help them develop engineering and programming skills. This class fosters confidence in approaching unfamiliar challenges and persistence in problem solving.