Robots Lend a Mechanical Hand to Help Students Learn STEM

The students worked the robots and the robots worked the room.

Students in Williston High School's STEM robotics class were excited to see the VEX EDR robot make its grand entrance.

 

"I thought that was amazing and it made me ten times more excited for this class," says Haley Peterson, a freshman at Williston High School.

 

Some of the students worked the robots as the robot worked the room.  It's part of a hands on approach to teaching STEM.

 

"It's taking all the math and science you learn in all your other classes and learning how to apply it. I teach physics in the morning and we're just coming up on gear ratios, thing like that. Actually having to apply them to make sure your robot cal lift a proper weight, that's what makes the experience stick," says Amanda Skinner, a math, science, and STEM teacher at Williston High School. 

 

 

And VEX EDR was all too eager to show off its moves. With a second semester student at the controls, VEX showed that it can do some heavy lifting.

Well, most of the time. Some things just don't budge.

 

 

"It was really cool, Just learning how they work and function. Now I have most of the knowledge of how to program and run a robot," says Garrett Ramsey, a Williston High sophomore. 

 

Students will work with the robots from the ground up by assembling and programming them. They can then instruct the robots where to go or even program them to react to certain objects-like changing course when they run into obstacles like walls.  And many of the students plan to put the skills they're learning in the classroom to practical use for their future careers.

 

"I want to be a storm chaser where you can build your own storm tracking system and customize it how you want," says Peterson.

 

"I want to go into the military and serve as an engineer," says Dylan McKinney, who is taking the robotics class for a second semester. 

 

 

"They have a lot of fun with it. It's frustrating but fun," says Skinner. 

 

But once they get the hang of working the robots, the students will get one step closer to working in their chosen fields. 

 

The robots were purchased through funds provided by the Williston Coyote Foundation. Skinner, the STEM robotics instructor, also recently received a STEM grant for continuing education through another foundation. 

 

 

 

 


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