They “skate.” They “shoot.” They “score.”
For the past 12 weeks, students from Ánimo Leadership, Ánimo Inglewood, and Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High Schools have been hard at work building their “hockey-bots:” robots programmed to maneuver a four-by-four-foot arena while shooting pucks into a pair of matching goals. The project culminated in the first-ever Green Dot Public Schools Robotics Competition, which took place on Wednesday, February 11, at Ánimo Pat Brown Charter High School.
More than 36 student-led teams participated in the event. Each team’s robot competed by attempting to navigate three red pucks and three blue pucks into two corresponding goals. Teams were awarded points when their robot scored a red puck into the red goal, or a blue puck into the blue goal, and they lost points when a puck went into the wrong-colored goal.
Andrew Osterhaus, a science teacher at Ánimo Pat Brown, created the robotics course and competition to help cultivate his students’ problem-solving and creativity.
“What’s exciting about this challenge is that our students are approaching one problem with a variety of different solutions,” said Osterhaus. “Their robots are all going to get the pucks into the goals in different ways. Their hand-built solutions show critical thinking and demonstrate the value in having more than one solution to a problem.”
The students’ goal was clear, but not simple: to create a working prototype of an autonomous robot. Meeting this goal required them to integrate concepts from a variety of creative and scientific fields, including design, computer programming, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering.
“The purpose of the program was to get them excited and to demonstrate to them the real-world application and implication of what they are learning in the classroom. I think we’ve all succeeded.” — Andrew Osterhaus