Robotics: more than building robots


Matthew Rubenstein, Online Editor

Since our time in elementary school, STEM education has advanced vastly beyond the simplistic coding exercises often ignored in favor of playing flash games when the teacher wasn’t looking. Our lackluster introduction to computer science may have turned us away from the subject altogether, but younger siblings need not face the same fate.
During the off-season, bringing STEM to the community is the main focus of Robotics. Over the past few years, the club has started 80 teams in the area, and has brought robotics programs to every elementary school that feeds into Liberty through a related program, the FLL.
Standing for First Lego League, the FLL is a series of competitions in which a team of elementary school students work to build a robot using computerized Lego resources to solve a number of challenges, such as hitting a target or running over a specific spot. Robotics held one of these competitions at Liberty on December 1, bringing in at least 500 students and parents.
“I wish I had that growing up,” sophomore vice president Greg Sather said.
These outreach programs that fill the Robotics off-season wrap up by January, when the team moves into true robotics.
On January 5, build season starts. Over six weeks, they have to build a robot that can complete tasks in a competition only described the first day of the season. And it’s looking like they’ll do well internationally this year.
“We started a lot of programs this year, and we’ve tried a lot of new things,” senior president Helen Le described.
In April, the team will hopefully be going to the world championships, located in Houston. There, they will face off against teams from Silicon Valley, Israel, and anywhere in between.
“We’ve got a lot of new members on the team, and we’re really looking forward to a good season,” Le said.