Robotics

Catlin Gabel’s robotics program involves students with real-world engineering, computer science, design, math, and applied physics. The team and project-management skills learned here last a lifetime. Robotics starts in Middle School and continues through Upper School.

Participants in both the Middle School and Upper School programs design robots for entry in FIRST robotics competitions. Middle School participation is not required before joining the Upper School program.

For information and questions, please email or call Dale Yocum, robotics program director, 503-805-6992.

Parents who need to contact their students in the Outback Lego robotics lab should feel free to call us at 503-297-1894 x436 after school.

Middle School Robotics

Middle School students design and program robots using Lego NXT parts to compete in the FIRST Lego League (FLL) competitions. Teams of three to five students each form at the beginning of the school year and complete their work in time for local competitions held in mid-December and state competitions in mid-January. Typically these teams are coached by veteran Upper School students, with multiple years of FLL experience under their belts, who are employed by the school. Parents can also go through coaches training and lead a team if they'd like. 

Spring Robotics

Start out by completing the self-paced introduction to programming in the graphical EV-3 language. After that, the sky’s the limit. Come up with your own ideas for Lego robotic projects or pick one from our list. How about a robot that can draw? One that can beat other robots in Sumo wrestling? Soccer with Bluetooth radio? A Lego vending machine or monorail? Students should come with the idea they want to learn about engineering and programming, it’s not a Lego free-for-all. No experience required.

Fall Robotics

Middle School students design and program robots using LEGO parts and EV3 controllers. In the fall, teams of three to six students form and complete their work in time for local competitions held in mid-December and state competitions in mid-January. Teams are typically coached on a day-to-day basis by veteran Upper School students supervised by Dale Yocum, robotics program director. Fall robotics requires previous Lego robotics experience either through spring robotics at Catlin Gabel, summer classes at Catlin Gabel, or a class outside of the school. Students with extensive Lego robotics experience at home can complete a challenge assignment to have this prerequisite waived.

Details about fall competition

Our kick-off meeting is on September 8, 2014, in the Outback building on campus from 3:15- to 5 p.m. Students must be pre-registered to attend this meeting and the meeting is required for all students taking part. After that, student schedules will vary depending on the team but all must come to the lab twice a week with their team. The lab is open every day after school.

We’ve found that FIRST LEGO League (FLL) can be a rewarding experience for students with long attention spans, superior teamwork skills, and who know what they are getting into because they’ve had prior exposure to LEGO engineering. Spring robotics is a much better launching pad for students new to the world of engineering and is generally a prerequisite for the fall teams.

Here’s how FIRST LEGO League works at Catlin Gabel. In September students form teams of three to five to design, build, and program a robot for the competition. The members of the team divide up the work, just like a real engineering team. Some will specialize in mechanical design, others will do software or research presentation work. They typically come twice a week after school though this can vary depending on the needs of their team.

Students must complete their project by the mid-December local competitions. At the competition their robot must perform a series of tasks on a standardized course to earn points. Each year the challenge changes. Teams also earn points at technical judging interviews and a research presentation to a panel of judges.

Teams that score high at the regional competitions are sent to the state competition in mid-January. There, the best 80 teams from around Oregon compete against one another. Last year two out of three Catlin Gabel teams advanced to the state competition.

Upper School students are hired as coaches for these FLL teams. These students are highly screened, are typically members of Catlin Gabel’s high school robotics team, and had at least two years of FLL experience in their younger days. Parents are also welcome to go through coach’s training and volunteer to coach a team as well. Contact Dale Yocum is this is of interest.

Link to Oregon First LEGO Leagues

Link to FIRST website

Register for fall robotics here

Upper School Robotics

Upper School robotics starts near the beginning of the school year with warm-up projects to learn the skills needed for competitions in January. Students then have six intense weeks to create a robot for entry in the nationwide FIRST robotics competition. Along the way, sub-teams get involved in mechanical, software, and electronics design and fabrication, website development, animation, computer-aided design, video production, marketing, graphic design, and public relations. The 130-pound robots are built from scratch using aluminum, steel, electronics, and pneumatics. They are programmed in C++ or Java. In many ways, the Upper School robotics program operates like a small company with students leading various departments. Volunteers from the faculty, local industry, and the school community lend assistance and teach new concepts as needed. For more information about the Upper School robotics program visit the student-designed Upper School robotics website,

Robotics Registration

Important Links

EV3 Tutorial we use in all our classes. www.stemcentric.com

Oregon FIRST LEGO League Organizers (ORTOP) www.ortop.org

FIRST National Organization www.usfirst.org

Catlin Gabel Upper School Robotics Team www.team1540.org

Certification Requirements for Upper School Robotics Team

Robotics Tutorials

This is the primary source for the NXT Tutorial and the RoboLab Tutorial. You'd use these if you would like to install them on a CD, USB Flash Drive, hard drive, or your own web server. These tutorials are free for any application.

The tutorials require Mac OS X or Windows XP or later. In addition, you must have Shockwave 10.1.3 or later installed on the computer. Shockwave is a free download available here. Flash works fine as well.

NXT Tutorial

This tutorial is meant to be an introduction to the NXT graphical programming language (NXT-G). We use it in our classes and after school activities to get students up to speed at their own pace. It is used world wide by FLL teams, students, and teachers.

If you want to just check out the NXT Tutorial, go to www.stemcentric.com. However, you may not want to use that site for high volume applications, like a classroom, for performance reasons. That's why we make the files available so you can load them on local hard drives, burn them on CDs, install it on a local server, etc.

Before downloading this tutorial, read these VITAL installation instructions.

Download NXT Tutorial (ver 1.16, 75MB zip)

RoboLab Tutorial

This tutorial has been refined over the course of six years. It provides a great introduction to the RoboLab language in a step by step way and has been used by thousands of students. We won’t be doing any further development of it now that we’ve switched to the NXT system. It was written for RoboLab 2.5 but will probably be helpful to those using 2.9 as well.

Before downloading this tutorial, read these VITAL installation instructions.

Download the RoboLab Tutorial (ver 3.01, 70MB zip).

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info@catlin.edu

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