Robots in the Middle School!
Posted April 2, 2012
Nine Hun Middle School students demonstrated their robotic engineering skills on Friday, March 30th in LeRhonda Greats’ new spring elective. Using Lego Mindstorm kits and NXT system software, students designed and “piloted” their creations around the Middle School halls.
Alexander Versfeld ’17 built a bumper car that changes direction after colliding with other objects. His brother Grant Versfeld ’17 built a dog that moves toward sound and is able to avoid colliding with objects in its path. Each robot presented its own programming challenges and the students overcame them well.
“In the programming world,” said Drew Patel ’17, “it’s not a simple command for ‘right turn,’ it’s a whole series of instructions.” Those instructions are conditional and can become increasingly complex.
Students were encouraged to have clear goals for the function of their robots and even anticipate problems in the building phase.
Ms. Greats said, “The students are being challenged to think critically and to develop their problem solving skills. As one can imagine, creating behavior for an otherwise inanimate object takes good planning.”
The Robotics offerings in the Middle School will expand during the 2012-2013 academic year to include the formation of a robotics competition team, as well as an advanced robotics elective in the fall, co-taught by Ms. Greats and Director of Technology James Huffaker.