Since the beginning of the new school year, the Salt River Elementary School (SRES) Robotics Club has been working hard. The club hosted an open house for students who had an interest in becoming a member of the club and holding interviews with a number of selected kids to see how interested they were in robotics.
Since then the members have been chosen and the club has been doing some serious research and planning field trips. Most recently the team traveled to Arizona State University (ASU) on a field trip to see their Mars Rover model and the amazing space facility on October 7. While there the group toured the Mars space flight facility and viewed the Mars Exploration Rover and also met students of ASU who work and study in that Mars education program facility.
“Even though the children think it is all about competition and competing in the Lego league, I want to give them the broad look of science, engineering, math and presentation,” said Angelo Fernando who is the senior instructional aide and robotics coach at Salt River Elementary School.
The Competition gives students something to work towards but Fernando decided that this year he would expose them to as much engineering and the scientific side of robotics as possible.
ASU was on the top of the list to visit for the Robotics Club, Fernando once worked there and is aware they have their own robotics team and has lots of science and engineering projects which are devoted to that.
The Space mission through NASA has been involved in the labs at ASU so he thought what a more fascinating thing to do than to see an actual robot that will be traveling to space.
Right now the SRES Robotics Team is building and playing with robots no bigger than the size of a book but the robots that they will see and learn about are the sizes of a golf cart.
“How do you think that one day you will work on those projects without seeing those projects and meeting the people who built them, so I though not only should they see the projects but also meet the students and people who were involved to ask questions,” said Fernando.
During the field trip SRES students asked questions like how does the robots get to mars, how they move and work.
After the students got back from the field trip they had journals that they carried with them to fill out information that they read or seen, the children had to give a list of interesting facts or things that they seen that afternoon and turn it into the coach.
Before going to the ASU campus the team read about the Mars Rover and what it does and how it worked, as a result they had many questions.
“The plan is to influence the children so that they will want to learn more and go home and talk about this,” said Fernando. “I really wanted them to meet actual people who build robots; this was the exposure I wanted the team to get.”
The group wants to meet with a farm located in Chandler, Arizona and talk with farmers and see the process that goes into the farm process. Fernando said he wants them to see the technology that goes into the farms from the milking process to the egg harvesting process.
In the Lego league they might be doing a small thing but at least in their minds they will remember how they seen an assembly line with a lot of machines that are programmable and inspire them to go into that field.
“I want them to look back on this experience one day when they are older hopefully as scientists or engineers and remember everything that we taught them,” Fernando said.