What’s Right With Our Schools: OLPH Robotics Team

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WDEF) – In just two short years, the Robotics team at OLPH is already making noise on the world stage! Those smart and capable students are shining example of what’s right with our schools.

Don Jacobson is the coach.

He says, ” We started Vex Robotics two years ago. We have three middle school teams, and this year we added an elementary team. So, we’re teaching kids robotics from fourth grade all the way up through eighth grade. It’s a great program. It’s an open program. So, anyone that’s interested in robotics just has to sign up, and we’ll find a spot for them.

Jacobson continues, “The great thing about this program is there’s a lot of different spots for kids to fill. We have kids that are Engineers that like to design robots and work on their engineering notebook.”

Robby Monahan is in 8th grade.

He says, “Every day I would log what we wanted to do today for our goals, and then after that, we would do it, and then we’ll come back to it and log what we did that day and tell about our engineering design process too.”

8th grader  Gus Blair-Barnett says, “And they will judge like design process and how well your robot was built based on the notebook, and sometimes the overall performance that you have at the tournament.”

Coach Jacobson concludes, “It’s actually on display because the highest award is called the Excellence Award. It doesn’t go to the first place team in a competition, it goes to the top well-rounded team. They have to have an interview that does well. They have to have an engineering notebook, and they have to have a high scoring robot. So, not just only do they have to win the competition for points, they have to understand why they built the robot and they have to explain it to the judges. Now, it’s going to get a little interesting when we head to the World Championships  in May, because there’s going to be teams from all over the world. So, there might be language barriers. So, we’re going to teach these kids how to use whiteboards, how to use Google Translate. how that they can find ways to discuss their robot with people from, you know, South America from Africa from Australia from Asia. So, it’s going to be a random draw. You don’t know who your alliance partners are until you get there, and you check in, and at that point the kids kind of have to scramble around and go meet the other teams and find out what their robots can do. There’s a lot of things I’d like for them to take away, but at the end of the day it’s being a good person. If you could be a good person and you can work with someone that’s not like you, you’re going to be successful in life.”



Categories: Chattanooga, Education, Local News, What’s Right With Our Schools