Robotics Teams Ignite Interest in the Lower School

Members of Parker’s Upper and Middle School Robotics teams recently orchestrated a pair of sessions with our youngest grades to share their work this past season and potentially ignite a spark of interest in robotics and coding in their peers at an early age.
In each of these gatherings, student members of Robotheosis, Franks Garage and Sophisticated A.I. talked about their personal experiences with coding and robotics, provided examples of the build processes associated with their respective robots and demonstrated how each of their robots accomplished the unique assigned tasks for this year’s season of competitions.
Student presenters illuminated similarities and differences between their teams and their robots. For example, it was clear that both teams had to work collaboratively and employ a wide range of skills to develop their robots’ designs, but one team constructed their robot out of a LEGO kit, while the other employed computers and printed custom parts on 3D printers to construct theirs.
When asked about the motivation for organizing these informal sessions to share with Lower School students, junior and Robotheosis team member Nathan Satterfield said, “Each year the robotics team hopes to share the work we do with as many groups in the school community as we can. We always host a Morning Ex for 3rd through 8th grade students, but students in Junior Kindergarten through 2nd grade aren’t there, so we try to reach out on our own to coordinate times to meet with the various grades and classes.”
In the end, it’s all about spreading their love and excitement for robotics, engineering and coding. “We hope that students will go home and talk with their parents about this experience. In turn, we are hoping that parents will help their students learn more about robotics and possibly even buy them robotics/coding oriented toys to fulfill their kids’ interest,” offered Satterfield.
Following these experiences, Upper School Robotics team members have become impromptu stars in the Lower School. Satterfield reported that a few kids have approached him in the hall since, referring to him as “Mr. Robot Man” and raving about the cool robots that he and others shared. 
Robotheosis and Franks Garage are currently ranked 1st and 9th respectively in the 43-member Chicago North League, and Sophisticated A.I. was recently recognized with the Champion Award in the FIRST LEGO League’s State Tournament.
Further, both Upper School teams have been preparing for the Chicago League Robotics Championships this Saturday at Amundsen High School, and they welcome all members of the Parker community to come cheer them on to victory. They recommend coming any time after 10:30 a.m. to see them compete in their matches. All are also welcome to follow the team on Twitter and Facebook @3507robotheosis.
Is your student interested in learning more about coding and robotics at home? Check out these kit recommendations for kids courtesy of Parker’s robotics teams!
The Wonder Workshop Dash Robot is for kids who want to learn how to code and program robots. The robot pairs with an iPad or phone and allows the kids to program the robot in any way. The corresponding app has tutorials and instructions so your child will learn how to program it.
The LEGO Mindstorms EV3 Robotics kit is great for kids to use, as it allows them to build any robot they wish with the LEGO robotics build system and corresponding motors and control systems. The Middle School robotics team use this same kit/systems in their competitions. This kit is great as it allows kids to use their imagination and build any robot they want and then allows them to use a computer, iPad or phone to program the robot. This kit comes with lots of tutorials to teach them how to program and build with the system.
Inventor 50 in 1 Motorized Models Set
This kit comes with a small motor that integrates with other pieces so that you can create almost anything. This kit is easy to use as the motor requires no programming and the kit has a heavy focus on creativity and building whatever you want.

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Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.