It’s a sunny day as a team of Fairmont Prep students known as the “Huskyteers” prepare a wireless operated robot, nicknamed “Balto,” to compete at the Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. Using laptops and power tools, they work together to make sure Balto performs its required task. Balto must lift, move, and stack items that represent litter in a pre-determined arrangement.
The process of building a robot offers students a rewarding experience regardless of their academic backgrounds and experience. They form a diverse team exchanging knowledge, skills, and ideas with the goal of creating an reward-winning robot.
Teachers see robotics as a perfect example of cutting-edge learning that is completely student-driven. When students focus their energy on building a robot, they demonstrate problem-solving abilities, apply academic knowledge, integrate skills, and collaborate within a group. It’s a microcosm of a real world entrepreneurial start-up.
The experiences in designing, building, and testing a robot bring to life mathematics, computer science, engineering, and other tech savvy topics. The finished robot provides students a gratifying source of accomplishment. Most of all, they become confident in using these academic subjects to overcome many obstacles, not only for technically-based challenges, but life as a whole.
Contributed by Doug Fleischli, Fairmont Private Schools