TZHS Engineering Team leader and Technology Education teacher Nick Desantis is teaching his Aerospace Engineering students how to build and program a robot! During their robotics unit, students have built clawbots using VEX, a robotic design system. From there, students began programming the robot using RobotC, a robot coding program used for VEX robots, to perform basic tasks.
One of the first tasks that students are programming their robots to do is to drive autonomously to a certain point and to pick up a plastic cup. Once they have mastered that, students will learn how to program their robot to perform tasks using a joystick remote controller.
Aerospace Engineering is one of the many courses offered as part of the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering program, a four-year sequence of courses designed to teach students the fundamentals of engineering and design. Students in this course learn about atmospheric and space flight, basic orbital mechanics using industry-standard software, and robotic systems.
“Technology, robotics, and computer programming continue to advance at a rapid pace,” said Desantis. “This course, and more specifically the robotics unit, exposes students to these areas. They are such important fields, especially given the fact that computers and technology have been integrated into almost every sector in today’s digital world.”