Ulster BOCES Hudson Valley Pathways Academy (HVPA) students, known as young scholars, are preparing for the New York Tech Valley FIRST ® Robotics Competitions, which are scheduled for March at the Times Union Center in Albany and Hofstra University.
The students, who were broken up into seven teams, put their mettle to the test during their second Romi Robot timed trials. The young scholars programmed miniature versions of the more than 100-pound, industrial-sized robot that they will take to the competition, where they will face off against pit teams from schools hailing from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and even Sao Jose dos Campos, Brazil, and Istanbul, Turkey.
The young scholars, who go by the team name of HVPA 7718 Dragons, created an arena that mimicked elements of the Second and Third Industrial Revolutions. They used their planning, design, and manufacturing skills to construct a conveyor belt to outfit their model course. The young scholars used Computer Assisted Design (CAD) to outfit their robots with 3D printed parts and then programmed the robots to sync with remote controls so that young scholars could use the robots to complete tasks that would have occurred in an historical manufacturing plant. Designing the devices correlated with classroom lessons on the Four Industrial Revolutions, highlighting the school’s focus on project-based learning.
Participating in the pre-game festivities was Zoey Brady, a Chapter 2 (the equivalent to Grade 10) young scholar from the Saugerties Central School District. Brady says one of the benefits of the project was learning to work together as a team. “You have to work together toward a goal and it’s especially important to learn how to communicate with each other,” she said. “This will help when we start real jobs and have to work with people we don’t know.”
A Chapter 1 young scholar, Gabriela Stokes from the Kingston City School District, agreed. “Everybody has different ideas and you have to be open to listen to their ideas. I felt appreciative that they listened to me,” said Stokes.
Brady shared she was surprised by how much she learned in addition to gaining effective communication and project-coordination skills. “We have been doing a lot with technology like CAD that I haven’t used before,” explained the young scholar. “We learned a lot working on our own without help from our teachers.”