Student duo offer robotics class to VVS school board

VERONA — Two promising high school students are looking to incorporate robotics into the curriculum at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School.

Eighth-graders Andrew Kaido and Joseph Stehlik addressed the VVS school board at its regular meeting on Tuesday, asking for board approval for an elective Python and robotics course for high school students.

Kaido explained that the heart of the class would be learning programming languages ​​and applying them to custom-built robots.

“We would also be learning more about general purpose input/output pins using Raspberry Pi and Arduinos if we have the resources,” Stehlik said. “We would focus on building robots. Robots are an interesting subject and can be applied to real environments. »

The Raspberry Pi is an inexpensive, credit card-sized computer that was created to promote basic computer science education. On the other hand, Arduino is a single board microcontroller used to create electronics.

And with learning a programming language, it can spill over to different areas of study and work for students.

Kaido and Stehlik explained to the board some of the aspects of the class and what it would mean from a learning perspective.

But besides the technical aspect, the two students took into account the finances and worked to stretch the dollar to the maximum.

The breakdown of the student budget is as follows:

  • A Raspberry Pi — $35
  • Engines and drivers — $19 to $20 for two students
  • LEDs, wires, breadboards, etc. — $15
  • SD storage cards – $4-5

In total, the duo calculated it would cost around $60 to $65 per student and $1,625 for a class of 25 students.

“These prices were all found on Amazon,” Kaido said. “And the prices line up, given our knowledge of our field. “But we think we can bring down the price per student, especially if we buy in bulk or from different distributors.”

Kaido said the hope of the class is to inspire students, whether in the future as a hobby or a career.

“The final exam would be a hands-on STEM project,” he continued. “Students will provide a product for a problem assigned to the student. They will need to document all procedures, troubleshoot and create a final product. »

To give the board something else to think about, Kaido and Stehlik released some of their creations. Kaido first showed off the robotic arm which used an Arduino microcontroller. Kaido invited board member Ann Pangburn to give him a whirl.

“It’s a robotic arm made up of servos and using Popsicle sticks for the frame and all powered by a nine-volt battery,” Kaido explained.

Pangburn moved the joystick given to him back and forth, smiling and laughing. “It’s amazing,” she said.

On the other hand, the duo released the RC car built using Raspberry Pi and some accessories. But unlike some of the RC cars the Council had seen in the past, this one featured a camera on the front, all through a wifi router he built himself. Controlled by Kaido’s phone and live video streaming, Pangburn couldn’t contain her excitement.

“It’s the same as it would be in a drone,” she said.

Kaido and Stehlik opened the floor for questions. One of the residents in the audience asked if the plan was to let students take their projects home on their Raspberry Pis.

Kaido said that would be the plan.

“To save costs, we can take back parts if needed,” Kaido said. “But we want to send students home with something they make.”

Asked by the board what the two would do if approved, Kaido said they would like to have a full year of full program planning, hoping to implement the course for the school semester. 2023-2024.

Sam D. Gomez