UC High Robotics Club Connects Students With a Passion For STEAM

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UC High Robotics Club Connects Students With a Passion For STEAM

Leila Garrett

Leila Garrett

Leila Garrett

Leila Garrett

Julie Whitehill, Staff Writer

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   The UC High Robotics Club, lead by Senior Club President Anna Le, and Junior Vice President Bridget Carr, was founded four years ago to give students the opportunity to learn how to build and program robots.

  Robotics Club member Junior Catalina Arreola Armenta stated, “The purpose of Robotics Club is to get students who are interested in robotics together to make a robot and compete with other schools. One of our main goals this season is to be able to create a robot that functions better and looks better than last season’s robot.” She added that the UC High Robotics Club is always working towards improvement.

   According to Arreola, the UC High Robotics Club is part of a competition called the First Tech Challenge, or FTC. She also added that the robot is supposed to do a series of tasks in an autonomous period of time for the driver of the robot to score points for the team. These challenges change every year.

   Carr stated, “Competitions are definitely the most exciting part of doing Robotics, because it’s where we see all of our work pay off. There are a different set of objectives each year, and we build our robot to complete as many of those objectives as a team. She added, “We have 6 matches at each competition. We are paired with another team to go up against another pair of teams. These are also randomized each match.”

    “During the first 30 seconds of the match, our robot has to complete some objectives on its own. After that, for the remaining two minutes, we have two drivers that operate the robot manually to score points. Over the course of a competition, we are ranked based on how our matches went, and we tend to be rushing back and forth between our ‘pit area’ (where we fix our robot if we have time) and the queuing area/playing field. The energy is crazy,” explained Carr.

   Le said, “This year, we have to unlatch from a crater, score minerals into a depot, drop our team marker into the depot, play offense and try to knock the opponent’s minerals out of their depot, and our endgame is to latch back onto the crater before the round ends.” This cycle continues until one team gathers enough points to be claimed victorious.

   The club faces many issues in the process of changing scrap-metal into machines. “There are many struggles that we face in the club but one of the biggest is the race against time. Before every competition, we spend many hours fixing problems with the robot. Often times we find ourselves fixing the robot during the competition itself,” said Armenta.

   According to Le, “UC High Robotics Club impacts the school because we can benefit from the STEAM learning experience at the school. People can get all of what STEAM has to offer when they participate in robotics. This is because robotics is a learning experience. Doing robotics helps develop student’s social networking and communication skills because we all have to work together. Many people do not realize the leadership skills you can develop from building a robot with friends!”

   According to Education Closet, a website about education, STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking (educationcloset.com).

   Le said, “What I love most about robotics is that it’s a learning experience. You do not need prior engineering experience or to previously have been in the engineering program to join. We welcome everyone. You really don’t know what you’re capable of until you try things outside your comfort zone.”

   According to Armenta, “Anyone who happens to be interested in Robotics Club can join just by coming in during our meetings or speaking to anyone on the team about joining. The meetings typically end after one hour or go a little over an hour.” UC High Robotics Club meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the engineering room after school.

   Another predicament that the club finds itself at ends with is more emotional than quantitative. “Many people don’t know this but we actually have two robotics teams on the UC High campus. We are still one club but split into two teams. I feel like the struggles we face are similar to the struggles that two families living in one house would have to deal with. We do cooperate and help each other out a lot, even if we’re on different teams because in the end we are all still a family and we all love each other,” said Le. She continued and explained that she believes Robotics Club strengthens intellectual, emotional and social skills.

  Carr stated, “Robotics Club has introduced me to a bunch of people who have similar interests as me, and I’ve made a lot of friends because of that. In fact, my teammates are some of my best friends.”

“Robotics definitely helped me form friendships,” said Le. “After all of these years, I’ve met some pretty amazing people, and I’m proud to call them my family. I am so grateful to have become friends with all of the new people that have joined the team along the way,” she added.

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