Robotics programs in Arizona schools are experiencing a surge in interest after a middle school robotics team from Thatcher won a trip to Florida sponsored by NASA. The team’s win has inspired neighboring school districts to establish their own robotics programs. This growth can be attributed to the efforts of Chris Carrell, a math and robotics teacher who started the robotics program at Thatcher Middle School after building a “BattleBot” for his son.
Carrell’s success has led to increased enrollment in his class and the mentoring of robotics teams in other districts. He has also shared his knowledge with robotics coaches across the state, giving a lecture at Arizona State University. His team’s achievement in winning the NASA-sponsored trip was the result of participating in the Lunar Legacy Invitational, a national robotics competition.
During the competition, students had to complete tasks such as growing plants in a closed-loop system, flying a drone along the path of the Artemis rocket, and programming a robot to collect soil samples from craters. The competition provided an opportunity for students to showcase their problem-solving and engineering skills.
Carrell views robotics as a sport that allows students to express themselves and demonstrate their abilities. He believes that skills such as coding, programming, and innovation are essential in today’s job market. Additionally, the robotics program at Thatcher Middle School has undertaken community projects, such as installing handicap-accessible playground equipment, AEDs in schools and parks, and a pickleball court in a local park.
The experience of being part of a robotics team requires extensive communication, problem-solving, and trial-and-error. Students learn to work together and overcome challenges to achieve their goals. The success of Thatcher’s robotics team has ignited a passion for robotics among Arizona students, leading to the establishment of new programs and inspiring young minds to explore STEM fields.
– “Robots are coming to Arizona schools, and they’re igniting a STEM spark in students,” The Arizona Republic (source article)
– Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay