Read how Teams 2002, 2898, & 4057 are using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) as they build this year’s robots:
How Tualatin Robotics is using S.T.E.M solve their building challenges!
We at Tualatin robotics are using Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) to help us in the long building current progress of our robot. Currently our team was facing motor issues, navigational wheel issues and general technological issues. The primary challenge of our motors was that we didn’t have the proper hubs and other necessary materials for the proper positioning of the motors with in the robot’s chassis. To overcome our shooting challenges, John C. our shooter lead, is using ingenuity to overcome our specific burdens. The most important of which is to find the correct wheels needed to perform the necessary task and fit the parameters of our system. Dan E. said that for now he is using the common scientific method of trial and error methods, which is a primitive method of solving problems. It is characterized by repeated, varied attempts, which are continued until success. Our mathematics genius Ludwig A. is using math in a big way for he is calculating the possibilities of proper arm shorting solving long equations.
As you can see our members are preparing themselves for college and the workforce by using S.T.E.M for Robotics is a program that prepares people to create a great environment in whatever situation that these future adults have in their lives ahead. We at Tualatin, robotics are grateful for this program because like many others our robotics program is a transferable extracurricular activity to a four year college or university
George S. Patton, the famed U.S. Army general, once said, “Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” Robotics comes with thousands of challenges, such as teaching the younger, more inexperienced members on the necessary aspects in the process of building a complex machine in six weeks. This year we, Team 2898, face a couple major challenges. One of our major challenges is a change in camera code and not solidifying the design in time to stay on schedule. As if it wasn’t demanding enough, this year’s game is considered one of the most difficult and multifaceted challenges in years. Not only should the robot be able to throw Frisbees, which is a challenge in itself, but it is also encouraged to climb a three-rung pyramid. However, we are confident we will build a robot worth its weight in gold by relying more than we ever have on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.).
All four of the STEM’s have already been used and will continue to be used throughout the build season. For example, trigonometry was used to design the length of the shooter. Computer programs (like Autodesk) were used to figure out how all the parts would and will fit together. Physics was used to determine how the Frisbee would fly. All of this has led to an improvement in our Robotics members’ high school education. It has given our team members a different perspective on how an engineering team works, along with hands-on experience.
“No matter how much math you learn, no matter how much science you do, you’re still not going to be prepared to build something until you go out and actually do it,” said Jonathan D, an experienced and dedicated member to the 2898 Mechanical Team, while addressing how Robotics prepares students for life in the future. Many students in Team 2898 plan to major in what they are currently working on in Robotics. This is the experience students are seeking for but never actually have the opportunity to. In addition, building the robot teaches students teamwork skills, time management skills, leadership and the design process.
Just as Patton said, all these challenges come with rewards. Being able to compete in a high-level competition in the same room with the most intelligent and creative high schoolers in the nation is an honor. These are the same high schoolers who, one day, will become scientists, engineers, and inventors that will lead the world into the middle of the 21st century.
This week has been quite a challenge for our team. For many teams (especially those that had a functioning shooter last year) the Frisbee shooter wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for the mechanical team. For us, it is our biggest challenge since we focused on balancing last season and didn’t have shooter. So, the past three weeks have been focused on prototype building and testing.
Also, for the first time, our team is using CAD for the robot design. We are a hands-on team, so waiting for the CAD to be finished and be able to appreciate the work took some patience. Most of our team members learn but hands on training and building prototypes. But with a firm plan in place, we did wait for the CAD to be finished and finally last Saturday built a finalized shooter prototype. I would say this is where Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) specifically came in to play. For different angles out came the protractors, rulers, calculators and degrees and angles were discussed. We are blessed with a fantastic mentor, John Cooper, who is also a math teacher at our local Hosanna School. He was a huge part of Saturday gently “forcing” math on the team before testing the prototype. Our Frisbee shooter was dead on accurate each and every time but the distance just wasn’t there. Even changing up speeds, angles etc. resulted in the same distance. Two of our team members talked about compression of the Frisbee and that would be the answer. Not convinced this was the answer, Mr. Cooper, agreed we should try this and low and behold the shooter launched a Frisbee at 50% power surpassing our distance goal. It was a huge victory for the team and proved that we can all learn new things about science no matter our experience level.