For decades, kids have knelt over bins of Lego pieces searching for the gears that will drive their motorcycle's wheels, the last brick in the wall of a castle, or the canopy of a futuristic aircraft. Legos give kids an early opportunity to bring the pieces of their imagination into reality in all of their glory, or to occasionally be confronted with the limitations of physics when their tower begins to crumble. Legos may be considered toys, but kids can learn valuable lessons even while playing.
Robotics is a place at school where kids can satisfy the drive to play, to tinker, to think, to construct, and ultimately, to solve the problems that stand between them and the realization of their ideas. The curiosity of childhood often evolves into extraordinary feats of innovation and exploration in adulthood. We believe Robotics is a place where that curiosity is challenged and nurtured, and will hopefully plant the seeds for a bright and exciting future.
Mars Curiosity Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
Boldly go where no boy or girl has gone before...
Start your engines...
At St. John Berchmans, Robotics is an after-school activity for 5th grade students who have an interest in computers and building gadgets. All 5th grade students are welcome, although students who have a history of good conduct in daily class as well as a genuine interest in STEM subjects are preferred.
Students are expected to attend every weekly meeting to fulfill each of the important roles on their teams. The robots are constructed using Lego EV3 parts and are programmed to act autonomously using Lego Mindstorms software on Windows PCs.
There are three competitions throughout the year sanctioned by NICERC as part of the Regional Autonomous Robotics Circuit. Before the competitions, students are tasked with solving the problems posed in the guidelines, and on competition day, they demonstrate their abilities to judges alongside 100+ teams from other competing schools in the region. This gives students experience in planning and preparation, as well as working under pressure. At the final competition, students are faced with a "mystery challenge" where they, with no help from adults, must modify and program the robot to solve problems that are not presented until minutes prior to the round. It's the ultimate test!
Fifth grade Robotics serves as a great segue into even more challenging STEM pursuits, notably Science Olympiad, a national competition in which the middle school at St. John Berchmans proudly participates. Read more by clicking below!