Students in the Engineering 101 Honors class at Polk County High School are utilizing the last weeks of the semester to introduce themselves to TetirxMax, new robotic kits obtained through a Facebook Community Action Grant received by teacher Leslie Rhinehart.

“It was like watching young children at Christmas as the students dove into the kits, unwrapping parts and looking at what they needed for the build,” Rhinehart said. “I am so grateful for companies like Facebook that give back to the communities that we live in. Hopefully some of the enthusiasm the students have with the robots will continue with their future endeavors and produce some great engineers.”

Class members constructed a rover model from the kit to familiarize themselves with the building materials and to learn to control their robot. Students then completed a driving test that determined how far the rovers could be controlled and how well the students could control them through a labyrinth of desks.

The students quickly personalized the group bots and made easy task of getting around the school. They quickly “engineered” a way to use Facetime and their phones to control their roving bot from the classroom in other areas of the school by driving with the phone as the eyes.

The students’ last task included augmented their bot to complete a task of the group’s choice, with each member having to be able to complete the chosen task. The first completed roverbot was a balloon popper, complicated by Rhinehart deciding how much the balloons could be blown up.