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Robotics Club Rolls Forward, Ready to Compete
Mrs. Alexandra Oglesby, Director of Communications

This month, Cape Henry Collegiate students brought a month-long after school project to life, propelling a small robot through obstacles to reach the opposite wall. 

Robotics Club is made up of 10 students from Cape Henry’s Lower, Middle and Upper Schools. 

“I like the collaboration,” said junior Finley Nedelka. “You can have people who know a lot about one specific thing and they all find their spot to build.”

Club members built the robot in three stages. First, a base construction kit provided parts like beams, rotors and wheels. Second, an expansion hub connected the hardware to the network, allowing students to control it. Finally, a smartphone linked the driver via WiFi to the expansion hub to control the motors. 

“We might get ideas from other things, but didn’t get an instruction manual,” said Finley. “We built it from scratch.”

Moving the robot from one place to another is just the start. Eventually, a claw attached to the robot’s arm will be able to pick up and move cones, a critical part of winning an upcoming December competition. 

But from physics teacher and club supervisor Mr. Tom Rodgers’s vantage point, the process is its own victory. 

“It’s good for them to see that what’s right and what’s wrong is not an academic question for a teacher to mediate,” he said. “It’s reality. The robot will tell them immediately whether they’re right or wrong. What’s right is what works.”

Robotics club exposes students to a variety of hard skills, like electrical wiring, programming, mechanical construction. Rodgers sees perhaps even more value in the soft skills it teaches, including the value of collaboration and real-world knowledge. 

“Their goal is not to satisfy a teacher or an academic requirement,” he said. “It’s the accomplishment of making something work.”

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