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Lights, Cameras, Robotics! How the Robotics Program at Alpha Secondary Creates a Passion for STEM

While only in its third year, the Robotics (Mechatronics) Program at École Alpha Secondary has been a big success with students. Incorporating subjects such as math, physics, and computer engineering with the core competencies of collaboration and critical thinking, ensures that students in the one-year program will have a huge advantage in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields for post-secondary education and careers.

Start with the Basics

The 85-hour program starts with students becoming familiar with Arduinos, which are open-source circuit boards that connect to a computer, and are used to teach coding basics. The Arduinos can be manipulated to do many different things – from turning on LED lights, to creating electric blankets. Arduinos can create just about any electronics project, making them fantastic tools for learning both coding and computer engineering. After students learn the basic functions and mechanics of Arduinos, they can move onto more challenging projects for their portfolios.

VEX Robotics: Putting the Fun into STEM Subjects

VEX Robotics systems are used in the Alpha Robotics program, and vary from basic models to highly sophisticated machines. Created by an electrical engineer and a mechanical engineer, the VEX system is the most widely used robotics system worldwide, and has spawned a robust competitive program.

Competing in VEX Robotics Programs Keeps Students Innovating Every Year

Participating in regional VEX Robotics competitions keep students on their toes, and provide an opportunity for Alpha robotics students to test their mettle (and their “metal”) amongst youth from across the lower mainland and beyond. The annual World Championships that take place in Kentucky USA are a big deal, with school teams from around the globe participating. Industry representatives from Google attend the event, to scout talent, and to observe the creations and the ingenuity. The event is also attended by representatives from leading STEM institutions, such as MIT.

What’s the Best Part of Robotics?

Collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking, and innovation – these are core skills that learning robotics requires. But the best part is clear: it’s fun. École Alpha Robotics Program teacher Russell Evanisky says that students are constantly in the robotics room “tinkering” with their creations in their spare time!

Robotics Opportunities in Burnaby are Available at the Elementary School Level

The success of the student-initiated robotics and coding programs at Taylor Park Elementary in South Burnaby has made it a model for countless others. It was the school that prompted Christy Clark, then Premier of BC, to invest millions of dollars in teacher training, computers, and other resources for BC schools, with the aim of having all students competent in coding by grade 9. Robotics is an innovative way to engage students, to spark interest in STEM, and to provide countless opportunities for experiential learning.

What’s the Best Part of Robotics at Alpha Secondary School? Collaboration and teamwork, critical thinking, and innovation! Click To Tweet

From Arduino circuit boards to sophisticated VEX robots, the Robotics (Mechatronics) program at Alpha Secondary provides a robust STEM foundation from which the possibilities for students are truly limitless.

You can learn more about Alpha Secondary School from one of our previous spotlight blog posts!

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