I have so much fun learning new things at school each and every single day. However, sometimes the best parts of school happen after the last bell has rung. Every Thursday I wake up super excited and ready for Robotics. This has been where my creativity and critical thinking reached a new level. This was my first year being in Robotics (it is also my first year in middle school) and it was tough to process all the new information being thrown around in the Robotics environment. I quickly grew to understand the terms, the programming and the urgency of competing with a team in a competitive environment.
Most of my teammates are in their second year of Robotics Club. And, we have the only all girls team in my middle school which is really neat. My team has helped me understand and get up to speed by demonstrating skills to me several times and then confirming that I understand the content. Robotics Club allows me an environment in which to build new things that I would not be able to do during the regular school day. The most interesting part is being able to see how the robot’s brain functions and processes things. With this technology tool that we have available to us it helps us develop math, science, creativity, coding, programming and engineering skills. To create a certain route for the brain to process you must first create a program for the brain to focus on. It takes many trials to figure out which program works best. It many take a few days or even weeks to find the perfect program that fits the challenge.
While in robotics you must also create a written document to prepare for your presentation. Our team chose to do an infomercial. This years competition had us focus on a natural disaster. Our team wrote a skit that included all the information about a “life-saving machine” so that the judges know how it functions. For our project, we created an infomercial about our “Air Qualitizer”. This really helped me improve my presentation skills.
One of our goals during this school year was to place in the very first robotics competition (we got 2nd place overall) and to make it to the Regionals tournament. Now since our all girl team has accomplished that goal, we have come up with a new set of goals that would improve our skills, knowledge and robot efficiency. We decided to try a new robot challenge to gain more points in the competition. Our robot did not do as well as we wanted it to in the “challenge” part of the first competition. The new challenge that we have decided to complete is an obstacle where you must take a truck and an ambulance to the yellow region of the playing field. That challenge may sound easy, but the most difficult part is trying to get the perfect program. We started that challenge a few weeks after the competition and finished it in about four or five weeks. When we finished the program we needed something to actually push the truck and ambulance, so I built slots for each vehicle to slide into. Once they were in the robot would the take them into the yellow region. Working with the robot’s brain is very precise. The brain is very sensitive and can get off course with the slightest mistake.
The new technology that robotics introduced me to has been so much fun and has helped me understand how other types of technology function. Even though you might think robotics is only for “smart kids”, it can be for anyone. Every person in the group has that one skill that they are good at, whether it is programing, presenting, building or designing. Everyone has a part in Robotics….technology and teamwork is what makes our team successful.
About the Author: My name is Isabella and I am a 6th grader at Canyon Ridge Middle School in Austin, Texas. I’m interested in math, science, geography and writing. I am in the Accepting Differences Club and the Robotics Club. I also love sports and music…..I have been playing softball since I was in kindergarten. And I have been playing the guitar for 4 years. I’m a kid at heart and love playing outdoors and exploring new places.