As a way to help students understand the basics of robotics, Engineering teacher Rizalito Nicolas assigned juniors in Engineering Manufacturing an assignment to create robots and compete against each other.

“Since it’s my first year here, I wanted to see how much coding [the juniors] knew,” Nicolas said. “I wanted to teach them the design aspect and modifications. I also wanted to teach them the aesthetic aspect, which is why I wanted them to create flags to go with the robot.”

Students were assigned to build and code their robots using VEX IQ instruction kits. Once everyone finished building and coding, the juniors tested their robots in a class competition  

“I believe I was better at building because it’s easier to create a quality robot than do quality coding,” junior Kaery Martinez-Marin said. “I also am used to building robots like this because of assignments last year. I’ve never used this coding software, so I wasn’t as strong.”

During the competition, students were required to push each other’s robots out of a large square using their own machines in three minutes or less. The round ended after time ran out or only one robot remained in the square. 

“I liked the competition because it was a break from what we always do in engineering,” junior Ryan Wong said. “We’ve done robotics type assignments before, but I we’ve never competed against each other, so it’s a really fun change.”

After this project, juniors will continue learning about construction, as well as reverse engineering, which is the process of deconstructing a robot and writing down the steps that were taken to understand how something was built.

“Reverse engineering is important in this field,” Nicolas said. “I originally thought the juniors understood the process, but that wasn’t exactly the case, so we plan to review it in the future. My future goal is for the juniors to have some practical experiences with the idea of reverse engineering since it is a skill engineers need to understand.”

Would you want to create and code your own robot?