Friday, December 28, 2012
By ABBY SLANKER
Building upon their successful STEM Week, Hilltop Elementary School parent volunteers have implemented monthly STEM Enrichment Activities, starting this month. The program kicked off Dec. 12 with 138 students attending the December Enrichment Activity, which focused on the science of robotics.
Don Crum, engineering graphics teacher at Canfield High School, and his JETS Club started the program with a brief explanation of robotics. The JETS, Junior Engineering Technical Society, is comprised of high school students interested in robotics. The club competes in various high school robotic competitions.
“Robots can be programmed to do many things. They can do work, like sweep the floor, and they can be fun, too,” said Crum.
Members of the JETS Club brought Lego robots which they had constructed and demonstrated various tricks the robots could carry out. For one demonstration, the students laid down black tape on the floor in a half circle. The robot then followed the tape perfectly.
“The robot is following the black line by sensing the difference between the black-colored tape and the light-colored floor. The robots are controlled by motors,” Crum explained to the younger students.
The students were able to get involved in the next couple robotic demonstration of sense and sound. The robot could sense when it was going to run into the students and stopped before it got to them. During the sound demonstration, the students clapped their hands on the floor, making noise, to lure the robot to them. The robots can chase or follow someone by ‘listening’ to the sound they make.
When the JETS Club members were finished with their demonstration, it was time for the students to construct their own robots. With the help of several parent volunteers, and under the direction of Julie Pugh, the students were instructed on how to make an ArtBot, using a plastic cup.
The students taped three markers to the cup, added a battery box to the side of the cup, attached a motor to the top of the cup and finally plugged in a battery, turning it on. After removing the caps of the markers, the ArtBot traveled in circles, making designs on the art paper provided.
At the end of the PTO-sponsored program, students took their ArtBots home to continue the lesson of robotics and build on what they learned at the activity.