Students whiz through robotics projects at Summer Seminars class

Rising seventh graders enjoyed a week of building and programming LEGO EV3 Robots as part of this year’s AIG Summer Seminars, funded by the Polk County Community Foundation.

The AIG Summer Seminars, funded by the Polk County Community Foundation, features week-long classes on a range of topics and taught by Polk County faculty members.

Working at Polk County Middle School, the first day for students in the robotics class consisted of making a Cartesian diver and illustrating how it works by squeezing the bottle to increase the pressure by relating science concepts like Boyle’s Law. The students then worked to build a robot that could increase the pressure inside the bottle via a pneumatic pump and switch mechanism and wrote programming to control the functions.

These bright students whizzed through the building and programming and were then ready to plow through four more projects that included a roverbot that could draw a square, a bot that could detect the edge of a table and not fall off and a bot that could detect a can, grab the can and move it.

The last set of bots were student-driven and allowed them to select a more sophisticated build and follow directions to gain more understanding of the capabilities of the EV3 kits.

“I like to encourage the students to add personality to their bots with sound files and displays of the brick as well as learn the different programming variables and sensors that make up their bots,” said Leslie Rhinehart, Polk County High chemistry and engineering instructor.

“Students need both exploratory and structured builds to gain higher order thinking skills that can be applied to various subjects as they explore their academic and professional pathways.”