Tech students design, race robots

ANSBACH, Germany (May 28, 2015) — Students in the Ansbach Middle High School Robotics Club and Tech Class competed in a robot battle at the school recently.

The technology teacher and sponsor of the Robotics Club, Steven Nelson, hosted the event. Nelson has been in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools network for five years and has been teaching robotics for four years.

“What’s good about it is you learn problem solving, and you also learn how to program computers,” said Nelson. “They get to learn the basics of robotics … then they get to learn how to program them to complete various tasks.”

During the competition, robots specially designed by students enter an arena and are tasked to knock down bottles. Sensors in the robots keep them in the arena and direct them toward the bottles. Mechanisms attached to the robots by students are then activated to knock over the bottles.

Students are able to build more advanced robots of the brand TETRIX, but they mostly use the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 system.

“I want the students to compete in Lego robot leagues,” said Nelson.

Students further the club’s goals through fundraising activities such as helping run an after-school break store.

“That’s where we raise money for the club, and then we buy parts,” says Nelson.

As an example of robot parts, students at AMHS recently acquired a Bluetooth device that allows their robots to be remote-controlled.

Additionally, to enhance the competitive aspect of robotic road racing, Nelson offers prizes to students for their winning robots.

“I have been turning projects into competitions with prizes because I find that students like to compete with each other,” said Nelson. “It gets them more involved.”

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