Southern Oaks Middle School Ventures into STEAM and Robotics

Southern Oaks Middle School enters the field of STEAM and robotics in January. The school began its first STEAM and robotics club this year. Spearheaded by ESE teacher, Maria Benjamin, the afterschool club meets twice weekly and teaches high-tech design of robots and drones. Benjamin who has had a strong desire to start the club for years, finally decided that this was the year. According to Benjamin, the club seeks to create middle school “scientists who create, implement, and critique their own inventions in an educational after-school environment.” After prominent promotion around campus, the club began with great student interest. At the first meeting, there were twenty-three members in attendance. These were students with a strong attraction to robotics as there is a nominal fee for joining. Students began their first assignment right away.

The group began work to build a robot that could make a directional jump. Before starting the robot projects, students learned the components of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) to build their skills. Then they ventured out to learn about circuits by making an art wheel. Robot materials for construction, purchased with club fees, are professional-grade metal, plastics, wiring, and protective equipment. Students then work as a team to follow design instructions, build their robots, use problem-solving to overcome obstacles, and constructively critique their inventions. Once the designs are completed in the next few weeks, students will create next-level robots that dance and fly.

Once a week, high school students from Fort Pierce Westwood Academy will mentor and collaborate with the SOMS middle schoolers. Benjamin is hopeful that her club can enter their drones in state and national competitions with the help of the high schoolers who have already competed.

Author: ANDREA STRACHAN

Teachers - (Changed 4/19/2024 5:32:53 PM)