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.
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.
Spring Robotics starts April 6th, 2015 in the Outback building on campus and continues to June 8th, 2015. Space is limited and Registration is required. The lab may not open April 21st-24th 2015 if the Upper School team qualifies for the World Championships as Dale Yocum will be with them. Spring Robotics costs $250 which enables students to come up to twice a week from 3:15-5:00pm on any day(s) Monday-Friday.
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, prior work on a FLL team, summer classes at Catlin Gabel or elsewhere, 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, 2015, 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 six 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.
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 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,
All of the tutorials we use in our classes were created by our very own Dale Yocum and can be found at www.stemcentric.com