A 'VEX-ing' Project: PUSD holds robotics lab

The VEX Robotics Lab is being taught for four days and started on Monday at the Porterville Unified School District Future Ready Lab at the former Citrus South Tule School in Success Valley.

There were 23 5th grade students from various schools at the lab learning how to build and program Robots with the help of instructors Gordon Plaisted and co-instructor Cody Di Li Berto as well as Harmony Magnet Academy interns Miguel Prado and Jesus Valdez from HMA's the Academy of Engineering.

The students were all so involved and interested in what they were doing there was barely a sound in the lab, you could hear a pin drop. They were so intent on building and programming the robots each group of four students was working on.

These students will all be 6th grade students in the fall, and the majority of the students were having a great time building the robots and learning how to program them. Plaisted said they had already tried the robots out and had played soccer with them outside and had a great time getting them to work properly. 

Rylan Carroll said he was having great fun and liked to build robots, and he wanted to become an engineer.

Most of the kids didn't know each other when they came to the robotics camp, but they've already made friends, and learned how to build robots as well as program them.

Kaydence Lopez who was working on building a robot with three other girls said, "It's very cool getting this experience. Learning how to build robots, but also program them to move around."

Ariel Ceballos, who was in Lopez's work group, as well as Yocelin Martinez and Emilee Alcantar, said, "It's very fun to get to know new people and experience the robots."

Martinez also said it was fun learning to build a robot and Alcantar said it was fun learning new things about robots. She's built them before from kits at home.

The VEX Robot kits they used at the lab is a Clawbot IQ and it not only moves but it has claws that retract and pick things up. 

The Roomba vacuum is an example of a robot that's available for consumers on the market, and Plaisted said those types of robots are becoming increasingly available at more affordable prices.

He said the cool thing about the VEX Robots is they can be used from 5th and 6th grade levels through high school. They're not limited by age at all.

Another group working diligently on their robot was Zoe Samson, Michael Wilkinson, Christina Cruess, and James Santos. Cruess said, "When you work on something you need to take your time." Santos, who was working with the team said, "All you need to do is work with your team, and get along." 

Prado said he was enjoying the great opportunity to help students learn about robots, and said, "I think it's important for them to learn about what they want to do in the future, and this helps them decide if robotics is something right for them."

Valdez said he also was enjoying helping the kids and teaching them the building skills and helping them figure out how the robots work. He also said he enjoyed working with the instructors and fellow intern Prado.

The lab runs through Thursday.

https://www.recorderonline.com/ Source: Porterville Recorder