Vex Robotics & Pre-Engineering

The VEX Robotics (14 students) Design System offers students an exciting platform for learning about areas rich with career opportunities spanning science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). These are just a few of the many fields students can explore by creating with VEX Robotics technology. Beyond science and engineering principles, a VEX Robotics project encourages teamwork, leadership and problem solving among groups. Robotic Pre-Engineering class is a semester long class in which students learn to problem solve while building robots and wind blades. Students learn how to program a robot, infuse fiberglass with resin, and to design and build various complex systems. Following an engineering design process and problem solving are key component to the class. One of the major goals for the class is to apply physic and engineering concepts to real world problems.

What is robotics/Pre-engineering?

Robotic Pre-Engineering is a semester long class in which students learn to problem solve while building robots and wind blades.  I teach two semester long classes of Robotic Pre-Engineering each year. Students learn how to program a robot, infuse fiberglass with resin, and to design and build various complex systems. Following an engineering design process and problem solving are key component to the class. One of the major goals for the class is to apply physic and engineering concepts to real world problems.

Major projects:

CO2 Car design project

Each student designs, builds and races a CO2 cars. The goal is to see who can build the fastest CO2 car. In this unit students will study mass vs. aerodynamics while building energy efficient car designs. CO2 cars are frequently used to demonstrate mechanical principles such as mass, force, acceleration, and aerodynamics. A set of two hooks (eyelets or screw eyes) linked to a string (usually monofilament fishing line) at the bottom of the car prevent the vehicle from losing control during launch. In a race, a laser scanner records the speed of the car at the end of its run. Often, the dragster is carved out of balsa wood because of its light weight

Vex Robotic Competition

Vex competition is an international robotics competition. Students compete at the University of Maine in the fall and spring at the Maine State Vex competitions.

“VEX Education is dedicated to providing engaging and fun student experiences that enable individuals to reach their full potential while they develop the knowledge and skills vital to success in the 21st Century. Given today’s global challenges compared to the rest of recorded history, there has never been an age with a greater need for new scientists, engineers and problem solving leaders. Recent breakthroughs in chemistry, medicine and physics have revealed a new set of challenges and created even greater opportunity for problem solving through technology. This underscores a dramatic challenge: there are not enough students choosing related paths to meet that global demand.Recognizing this dilemma, scores of governments and organizations are turning toward programs that integrate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as a means to meaningfully engage and develop the next generation. VEX Education exists to help schools focus on practical, affordable and accessible ways of delivering dynamic hands-on STEM educational experiences to as many students as possible. Mixing the excitement and motivation associated with competition and real-world applications of mathematics and science concepts through the use of the engineering design process, we focus on addressing current educational and societal needs on many levels.” From http://www.vexrobotics.com/

Wind Blade Challenge

The wind blade challenge is a competition where students design build and compete to see who can generate the most power. Wind blades are made and built with the help of industry experts at Spruce Mountain High school. Teams of student earn points by generating the most power with their completed wind blades. Students are also judged on their oral presentation. While making their presentation students will explain and defend their overall design and show how they built their blades. Last year we have three teams. One team won the event. “ The Process: Your Team will design, shape and apply the glass to the foam blades. Then each team will travel to a regional composite lab with their blades on a scheduled day. MCA will coordinate the times and lab for each team. This day will be an integral part of the learning experience. Each lab will be hosting a number of teams at one time and the interaction and sharing of ideas is intended to spur additional learning. The composite labs will guide and instruct/demonstrate for the teams the vacuum infusion process. The blades will be sealed in a plastic envelope and the resin will be infused…or pulled, through the glass fibers, thoroughly coating the blade before hardening and creating a strong shell. The challenge has been purposely designed to allow your team to experience the clean and safe process of infusion in comparison to the past messy process of open hand layup.” From: Maine Composite Alliance and Maine’s North Star Alliance Initiative.

Wind Storm Challenge

Students design offshore floating wind turbine platforms. The DeepC wind consortium Windstorm Challenge aims to provide a comprehensive and interdisciplinary learning opportunity. This program will allow students to explore the concept of deepwater wind energy technology and its role in Maine’s future. Students are scored on their budget, design plans, implementation, and oral presentations.  Last year we have two teams.

Robotic Research paper/project

Students write a 2-3 page written report explaining what a robot is and how robotics will affect our lives in the future?  Student must address the bigger issues in their report.  What impact has robotics had on society? What will a robots and/or robotics look like or become in the future?