Robotics is an extracurricular program designed to get students involved 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 their respective FIRST robotics competitions. Middle School participation is not required before becoming involved with the Upper School program.
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 mutiple 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. For more information about the Middle School robotics program visit the Middle School robotics website.
Upper School robotics also 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,