For the second year in a row, Southern Oaks Middle School hosted the Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program, a five-week STEM program designed to engage students in learning and working in a 3D environment, applying forces and Newton’s laws, using conditionals for programming robotics SHERES which are Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites.

This year’s team placed third in the Regional Competition. Our program facilitator Kevin McInerney, an instructor at Southern Oaks, supported students with hands-on experiences in programming their satellites to compete with other teams in Florida. Students learned to navigate obstacles and strategize for fuel conversation as well as develop an appreciation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics- that is STEM. Teams competed by programming their strategies into Their SPHERES and then proceeded to the elimination rounds whereby each satellite’s speed, rotation. And direction of travel were factors in determining the winner if each round.

The Zero Robotics Middle School Summer Program is provided through a partnership between the MIT Space Systems Lab and the Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership (MAP) with support from Aurora Flight Sciences and TopCoder. Zero Robotics is sponsored by NASA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space.

Pictured in the back row are, Chairman Debbie Hawley, Superintendent Genelle Yost, and in the front row are, Elijah Canegallo, Logan Baker, Andrew Johnson, Jacob Powers, Hansly Leger, Michael Futo, Mr. Kevin McInerney, and Michael LeFrancois. Students that were not present for photo are, Ann Jager, Gioia Perriello, Grisel Cabrera, April Vazquez and the high school volunteer Jaeger Johnson.