Young engineers at Seaford Middle School will get a head start on possible careers in the growing robotics field. This year, a new half-year robotics course was launched for all eighth-grade students, which helps fulfill the middle school technology requirement.
Technology teacher Brian Heyanka said that students work in groups using Vex IQ kits to build more than a half-dozen robots throughout the semester. The robots are equipped with smart sensors to interact with their surroundings.
Students also learned engineering and programming skills to better understand how robots interface with computers. They have to work together to program their robots to perform certain tasks, which require problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Typically, each student in the group takes the lead on a certain task, such as building and programming, but it requires collaboration among the entire to team to have success.
“The students work collaboratively to figure out real-world solutions,” Heyanka said. He said he also enjoys seeing those “wow” moments when their robots work.
The other half of the full-year technology program is a traditional shop class. Heyanka explained that by making robotics a mandatory part of the technology curriculum, it gives all students an introduction to the field and a chance to possibly find their passion. He said he hopes it sparks an interest so they will take advantage of robotics courses and extracurricular activities at Seaford High School.