Since the Sobrato Center opened in January, Archbishop Mitty High School (AMHS) students have been busy using state-of-the-art machinery to build their competition robot. The new building includes a 1,982-square-foot workspace for the robotics team, providing a large open space where technology and creativity can come together under the same roof.
The school’s growing robotics program complements the AMHS mission of providing students with a rigorous academic program that prepares them to be leaders in a 21st century global society.
The new space holds a mill, a bandsaw, a drill press, and a variety of hand tools to help students fabricate their competition robot. Since the robotics team now has a larger area to work, the school also invested in some large scale specialty equipment, including a lathe and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) mill, to help students build their robots. AMHS also purchased 3D printers, which can be used to create models of students’ ideas.
“My favorite part is seeing our students develop from freshmen with little to no experience through their high school careers and beyond,” said Mr. Mike Greene, the robotics team moderator.
“Students learn and develop skills that they will use throughout their lives, such as working as part of a team, design principles, time management skills, interpersonal skills, and goal setting.”
The robotics build season begins in January and ends in February, meaning students must design and fabricate their entire competition piece in just six weeks. Each year, the team is challenged to create a robot that can perform a specific task, such as racing, climbing, or launching projectiles.
At Archbishop Mitty, students can also take classes that focus on machine design and programming, giving them a head start on concepts they’ll encounter in college and the workplace. The robotics courses teach the basics of programming and elementary electronics. Students learn to use Mechanical Computer-Aided Design (MCAD) software to create plans for their projects. Then, they use 3D printers and the CNC machining center to create physical models of their designs. Seniors can also take an engineering class on machine design, which covers how structures such as gears, springs, bearings, and brakes operate.
In that class, students focus on projects in the robotic or industrial arenas and use the school’s 3D printers and machining facilities to transform their ideas into models.
Alumni of the robotics program have gone on to work for Google and SpaceX, an American aerospace manufacturer, but Mr. Greene still remembers the days when they were learning how to use drills or going through their first professional design reviews.
Eventually, early participants in the program mastered those skills and shared those new skills with novice members of the team. For many, a passion for designing robots turns into a career in engineering or computer science. Regardless of what careers students pursue after high school, members of the robotics team at Archbishop Mitty High School learn life lessons about dedication and teamwork while working with state-of-the-art technology.