My students need 2 PC laptops to program robots for Vex Robotics competition.
My "classroom" is a robotics club. Students work together to build physical robots and write computer code to program the robots' movements. This year's theme is "Nothing but Net" in which the students turn the robots into basketball stars!
My school is located in Raleigh, NC, has a student body of 1,230 students, and comprises a mix of suburban and urban neighborhoods.
Approximately 50% of the students are white, 25% are black, 10% are Hispanic, and the rest "other." Twenty-six percent of the students are on free or reduced lunch. Our school has a range of affluent students with many privileges, to students who live in single-parent homes with many challenges, to students who are homeless. Our Principal's goal for this year is for every student to have some place in the building where they feel special and belong. While some students excel in more "standard" school activities such as athletics or band, others shine in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities. As one student in club stated, "I built a solar powered car this summer and I am looking forward to a bigger challenge." The club is open to any student who shows an interest.
The students will use the laptops to program the robots so they can participate in a "Nothing but Net" competition. The robots will shoot baskets and lift other robots, all controlled by the students' programs. While our school has many laptops, the county's computer image interferes with the robotics software. The laptops will be school property and taken care of accordingly, but will not include the county's image. Students will use the software to program the robotic controllers using easyC, a programming language. The commands are then uploaded onto the controllers, which they will use to maneuver the robots during competition. With quality laptops, students will be able to hit the ground running in robotics competitions for years to come. Dedicated laptops are essential to running a success robotics club.
These laptops will make a difference by ensuring that students in our school with an interest in engineering and programming have a place.
The computers will also help streamline the robotics process-- in the past we have had to use teacher laptops or personal laptops, which has been logistically difficult and presents a liability. With these laptops, the robotics club will run much more smoothly.
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