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Middle School Launches Robotics Course

The robots are coming to Calhoun! After a successful run as a summer camp, the Middle School is introducing a Robotics elective for 7th and 8th graders. Taught by math teacher Katie Yang, who has a background as a robotics teacher and mentor, this STEM course will introduce Middle Schoolers to computer science and engineering through a series of hands-on challenges. 

Students enrolled in Robotics will dive right into building their own robots using the VEX IQ robotics system, a program tailored for young people. To begin, the students will be challenged to follow instructions to construct a robot from pre-fabricated parts, then code the robots to make them move forward and backward. The tasks at hand will become progressively more difficult as students acquire new skills: from navigating a robot through a maze, to using the robot to transport an object from point A to point B – with an exciting milestone being the first time students can manipulate the robot in real time with a controller!

As they progress through the course, Middle Schoolers will learn about engineering principles like mechanical advantage and structurally sound building, practice using iterative design methodology to tweak and optimize their robots, and gain coding experience using a block-based coding platform. Beyond the technical skills, these budding engineers will spend time thinking about how to collaborate and communicate effectively with their team. “These challenges get very difficult very quickly and it’s vital for students to learn how to communicate,” Katie explains. 

 

Finally, students will build their own resilience as they tackle increasingly complex problems. “An important part of mastering engineering is being able to keep going until you succeed,” says Katie. “I always tell students that your code will fail 100 times, but what matters is the 101st time that it works.” 

We look forward to following our Robotics students’ journeys, and seeing where their innovation takes them!