When Huguenot High School students Myles Manuel, Jennifer Garcia and Irene Andrade, who also are enrolled in the Governor’s Career and Technical Education Academy for STEM at the Richmond Technical Center, showed a group of seventh-graders what their robots could do at the event, they were demonstrating hours of their work. The time invested included using math and technology skills to design and construct the robots and engineering skills to program them to complete specific tasks — in this case, lifting cones and putting them over a gate. “The students use computer code to design the robots,” said Jorge Valenzuela, an instructional specialist in technology and engineering education with Richmond Public Schools. “Then there’s electrical wiring and use of sensors, gears and motors to build the robots and make adjustments to accomplish a mission.” This project-based learning approach, he said, includes classroom instruction about the basic principles of making robots and designing them to accomplish specific tasks. Students then publicly present their work, as they did at RVA STEM Sports Day, and also teach younger students how the project goals were accomplished.
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