Taking a Step in Technology

The Frederick Robotics club members combine efforts to create a robot capable of physical mobility

Liz Kulesus, Staff Writer

Science has long evolved within the past century, with the advent of technology, science expanding into a whole new realm many thought impossible long ago. At Frederick High School, students are provided the opportunity to explore this newfound world of technology through the Robotics Club, engaging students to think outside the box when it comes to inventing new ways of manipulating such technology itself. Advised by Christopher Thomas, also known as the FHS band teacher, students able to freely express their enjoyment in technology. From creating new robots to perform different tasks to programming software within the technology itself, Robotics Club gives students the chance to really experience technology and forge a future for themselves within this world of computers.

When it comes to the different aspects of Robotics Club, students and given opportunities to learn all about robotics through the interdisciplinary field of mechanics and programming. Creating robots not only requires individual effort, but entails collaboration between the members. Aiden Prunk, a two-year participant in the club, breaks down such process into three distinct roles; building, programming, and driving the robot. Each person has a vital role that contributes to the accomplishment of assembling a capable robot for the competition, with the first semester given for working, building, and perfecting such robot for the given task in such event. These competitions are mostly composed of directing the robot to perform mobile tasks; such as stacking objects with minimal error. Creating such a perfected robot proficient enough to conduct these tasks vitally requires more than just a single person. Instead, the participation from all members within the club is needed for such a task, helping to create that required relationship within such a club to really succeed within the robotics field.

Not only does the program provide members satisfaction of an achieving end product, but it also presents future opportunities and exposure to potential career options within the technological field. Members within this program not only learn how to build a robot but also receive insightful knowledge on how to code the robot itself to perform certain tasks. Skills such as these contribute to a head start on subsequent opportunities for the future, more specifically, this program offers to teach students through a step-by-step basis on how to become successful within a team. Aiden elaborates this by saying, “There are different levels… IQ is for the middle schoolers, VEX is for high schoolers (and some middle schoolers), and then there are groups for college students where they have to build everything from scratch together.”

Though robotics have existed within Frederick High School for several years, these past two years have been considered to be the most competitive so far within the club. “This is our second year competing at this level,” Thomas explains ecstatically. “It’s been a while since we’ve been in a competitive environment like this.” The Robotics Club specifically follows a program known as VEX that provides kits to build the robots and programs, as well as hosting the competitions that test such robots created throughout the district. VEX provides countless models for students to work with, yet Frederick specifically chose the VEX EDR model for the upcoming competition as their main competitor. This model indicatively is purposed to aid students in their educational pathway towards engineering, making it the best candidate for the association.

Robotics has inspired, taught, and engaged many students within this curriculum; contributing to the more sophisticated pieces of science and technology. By teaching these certain principles through the program, this club is setting a foundation for future mechanics and engineers while allowing the students to connect with each other through the process of assembling/competing in robotics. Observing the inexplicable progress that they’ve already cultivated has illustrated their passion and dedication to this program. As Thomas puts it, “Robotics Club always want to do well in every aspect they can!”