Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

Friends Select Student News Media

The Falcon

Robots, Collaboration, and Candy: How the FSS Robotics Program Fosters a Love for STEAM

Image+Courtesy+of+Robotics+Team+Instagram+Account.+
Image Courtesy of Robotics Team Instagram Account.

Through competitions and collaboration, the FSS Robotics Program creates an environment that challenges its members to develop skills in all fields of STEAM while retaining a fun and lively spirit. 

According to Luisa Levine, Upper and Middle School STEAM teacher and advisor of the Robotics Team, FSS Robotics participates in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), an international robotics competition that challenges members to build a robot designed to score points in a specific game. 

FSS Robotics is a coalition of two groups: the club, which meets during the Friday club block, and the team, which meets after school. “The club …mostly discusses gameplay strategy, best ways to earn points, and ways to win specific awards; the team …builds and programs the robot, and we attend workshops and tournaments on certain weekends,” Luisa said.

Many of the team’s members relish the opportunity to take part in these competitions. “I joined because I have always loved STEAM and wanted to work with other people to take on a challenge in a global competition,” Oren Pipano ‘25, Co-Captain of the Robotics Team, said.

The robotics program creates a spirited environment that appreciates success but prioritizes learning and having fun, regardless of the competitive results and individual ability or knowledge. Juliene Jones, ‘24, co-captain of the team, encourages people who may not have experience in engineering or design to join the Robotics Team. “You don’t have to be a hardcore STEAM, coding, or engineering person to be involved in robotics and to have a lot of fun,” Juliene said. “We’re not super competitive. We love it when we get far, but our main goals are to have fun, learn from each other, and build off each other’s ideas.”

“It is not necessary to be good at or even know any aspect of STEAM to join robotics,” Oren said.  “The robotics club has so many working parts that any input, opinions, or help is welcomed. This can range from the in-depth architecture of the code to what color our team shirts should be.”

As a haven of self-improvement, FSS Robotics aims to help its members learn various skills from design to engineering to content creation. The FIRST Tech Challenges offer an excellent opportunity for members to hone their abilities, and many say that FTC was a very fruitful experience. Luisa explains, “FIRST Robotics is a great avenue to learn design and engineering concepts and be involved in an exciting team experience. Graduates of FIRST and other robotics programs will tell you that they carry those experiences with them forever.”

“I think FTC competitions are extremely rewarding, and I have learned so much more about computer programs, the design process, and overcoming challenges on the spot,” Oren said.

Members of the robotics team are concerned about a lack of participation due to after-school scheduling conflicts. Despite the incredible opportunities and environment the robotics program creates, they have struggled with student involvement over the past few years. “I would love some more people in the club. After school is very challenging with [extracurriculars], so it is challenging to get people to come to the after school [robotics] meetings, where we do most of our work on actually building and programming the robot,” Juliene explained.

Regardless of challenges with student involvement, the robotic program’s workplace is always thriving with music and food. “The environment is fun and always full of laughs, with plenty of candy to eat,” Oren said.

Food has proved an effective recruitment tool: “… you know, they come for the food, but they stay for the robots,” Juliene adds.

 

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
  • Image Courtesy of Robotics Team Instagram Account.

  • Image Courtesy of Robotics Team Instagram Account.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right

 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor

Alden Karp is a senior at Friends Select; he has attended Friends since 2021. This year, he is covering the FSS science department for The Falcon. Alden enjoys learning about science and math and following the NFL.

Comments (0)

All The Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *