Robotics team prepares for first season


Lauren Boettcher

Robotics coaches Ms. Bjork and Dr. Lockwood split students into groups to work on different parts of their robot. “Were at the point where we’re going to start practicing driving. We’ve been working a lot on design and since this is everybody on the team’s first year doing this, there is a lot of research going on because they don’t quite know what certain things should look like,” Bjork said.

With freshly painted white walls and huge windows, the new robotics classroom stands where many students expected to see half of the lower library when they came back to school this fall. Instead, there’s new computer science curriculum and the school’s new robotics team is already starting its first season.

The team is made up of students from every grade level; and they meet as a class during Period 5.

Junior Dina Moradian is a member of the team:  “My brother has taken computer science and robotics courses and he loves it.  I have never taken anything like it before so I wanted to try something new,” she said. 

The team is coached by Upper School science teachers Kate Lockwood and Meghan Bjork.

The process is a challenge; however that is what makes it fun. I’m glad SPA finally is giving kids who are interested in tech and computer science a chance to pursue their interests”

— senior Ian Scott

Because the SPA robotics team is new, they are considered a rookie team in competitions.

Sometimes when you watch a robot rookie team, which is what we are, their robot doesn’t even move. It is very difficult and there are a lot of different things involved, so we want a working robot,” Bjork said.

The team learned what their robot must be able to do at a kickoff event on Sept. 11. The robot must complete a serious of tasks, most with the assistance of a “driver” or a member of the team steering, but the robot also must compete in an event where it will run without assistance based on programming the team has done before the competition.

The team can compete in tournaments, with the main competition in December.

“First there are regional tournaments. Then, if we make it past that, there are districts and then super-regional. If you make it far enough, you get to the world competition, which is in April,” Bjork said. 

Right now, the team is working on building, coding, and learning how to drive their robot.

We have a brand new team with no experience in this particular robotics game. That being said, people are excited and, for the most part, willing to work hard to get as far as possible in the competition. I guess that is our goal too: do as well as possible in competitions while having fun,” senior Ian Scott said. 

The team has currently built two robots and are doing a lot of research on how to build a better one for the competitions.
“The while process is a challenge; however, that is what makes it fun. I’m glad SPA finally is giving kids who are interested in tech and computer science a chance to pursue their interests,” Scott said.