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Robotics Program Continues to Grow at Mason Public Schools

Monday, February 12, 2018  
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Robotics is an engaging opportunity for students that combines the thrill of creativity with the discipline of math and science. Eight years ago, Mason High School started building a robotics program working with First Robotics, a not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide. The high school is now in their eighth season. Due to the success of the high school program there has been significant growth in the elementary and middle school programs with more than 120 students involved in a robotics program district-wide. This growth in the earlier years gets our students involved at an early age and helps them prepare for competitions at the high school level.

The high school team participates in the First Robotics competition with 500 other high schools across Michigan between January and April of each year. Each team must come up with their own concept plan and design. During the first weekend in January, First Robotics releases a new game to the robotics teams and they begin designing and planning their models. The game and materials are provided online for each team to access, but there are no instructions on how to get to the end result. The high school team of forty students then has six weeks to strategize, develop a design plan, configure their game, test drive and trouble shoot. The high school robotics team meets five days a week to ensure the success of their project. They are structured into small groups, focusing on different topic areas such as programming, machining, marketing and judging, which prepares them for competition.

“Our students create amazing designs each year. The structured planning, marketing, machining and judging teams help them prepare for the competition. The real fun is watching these students be so engaged in something they truly enjoy,” states Ben Shoemaker, Robotics Instructor at Mason High School. “They learn new skills, communicate their ideas, meet other students from all over the world and most importantly work as a team to accomplish their goals. Mason Public Schools is blessed to have a program like this and great sponsors in our area to help us continue to offer this opportunity to our students.” 

Mason Public Schools will welcome 40 teams from across the state to their campus for the regional competition on March 23. In addition, students will compete in the state competition and the world championship, with more than 6,000 teams competing worldwide, in April.

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