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Robots roll at MCHS

Rick Patrick: Greene Publishing, Inc.

Not so long ago, in a galaxy really close by, when one would mention robots, the image of the friendly mechanical housekeeper “Rosie,” who faithfully served the George Jetson family would come to mind. Now, robots are no longer limited to fantasy and science fiction. Robots, and hence robotics, are becoming more and more common, and the implications for manufacturing - and even agriculture - will be widespread. A working knowledge of robots and robotics will likely be a very valuable asset in the future.

Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo by Rick Patrick, February 12, 2018
Crystal McCann (Left) and Shyrecia Jackson (Right) program their Vex IQ Robot to pick up an object.

At Madison County High School (MCHS), students in Brigitte Gudz's Robotics class are receiving hands-on experience and knowledge of robots and robotics. Utilizing a curriculum developed by Carnegie Mellon University, students in Gudz's robotics class are learning to program a VEX-IQ robot to carry out tasks as simple as picking up an object to more complex tasks, such as maneuvering a complex maze. Working in pairs, as students complete progressively more challenging tasks, they earn badges leading to a certification that could look very good on a school transcript.

According to Zac Coe, a student in the robotics class, the “Orchard Challenge” wherein students program their robot to make its way through a complex maze is the most challenging of all the tasks. However, programing the robot to perform such a task could have “real world” applications, such as programing a piece of agricultural equipment to maneuver around trees, etc.

Greene Publishing, Inc. Photo by Rick Patrick, February 12, 2018
Andrew Pennington (left) and Zac Coe (right) program their VEX-IQ robot to maneuver through a complex maze in the Robotics class at MCHS.

Much of what the students learn in the class has to do with the design process. Programing the robots requires students to work through the process in a methodical way with great attention to detail. As with the Power and Energy class, a great deal of trial and error is a large component of the learning that goes on in the class.

February has been designated as Career and Technical Education (CTE) month. In recognition of this, Greene Publishing, Inc. will feature a different CTE program every week during the month.

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