Your Giving in Action: An Award-Winning Robotics Team
Principia’s robotics program is all revved up and ready to forge ahead in the 2015–2016 school year!
With robotics on the course schedules for both Upper and Middle School, there are plenty of opportunities for students to engage in this expanding area of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) learning. For the first time, Principia is fielding a Junior FIRST LEGO League (FLL) team, made up of budding engineers from our kindergarten through third grade classes! Both Lower and Middle School students take part in the FIRST LEGO League Challenge, for students from grades 4 through 8. (FIRST—For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology—is a nonprofit established by inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen to promote technology education.)
The Upper School has two robotics teams—Mecha Panthera and Optimus Prin. Though relatively new to competitive robotics, Principia Upper School teams have won several awards in their first two years:
- The Rookie All-Star Award, regional FRC, 2014
- Engineering process award, VEX, 2014
- Fourth place, FIRST regionals, 2015
- First Place (in a three-team alliance), FIRST State competition, 2015
Math and science savvy isn’t all it takes to participate andsucceed in these events, however. Financial and volunteer support—for competition entry fees, transport to and from events, technical advice, even team uniforms—are important, too. With the assured availability of donor funding, our robotics teams will be positioned to participate regularly in the wide range of available opportunities.
One of the major benefits of taking part in FIRST events is that they promote key values that Principia emphasizes as well:
- The importance of learning and discovery
- Gracious Professionalism® and Coopertition®—which include kindness, respect, and a willingness to learn and teach
For Principia School Principal Travis Brantingham, this combination of hands-on STEM learning and a high bar for character is a win-win. FIRST robotics competitions are, he says, “an outstanding vehicle for students to test teamwork and problem-solving skills. They are learning leadership by figuring out how to partner with other robotics teams and with peers and teachers.”